South-Korean Hybrid Air Taxi Company ‘Plana’ Is Getting French Propellers

Media . Jun 23, 2023

Plana is hardly as famous as other manufacturers in the AAM (Advanced Air Mobility) world, but it deserves full attention. Its flagship product, a hybrid VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) named CP-01, has great potential to rise to the spotlight as one of the top Korean-made electric air taxis.

We’re only halfway through 2023, and it’s already been an excellent year for Plana. If it was somewhat behind compared to the main US and European competitors, it’s certainly catching up. The highly-anticipated Paris Air Show brought significant collaborations and debuts for many eVTOL manufacturers, including the South Korean air mobility startup.

Following the announcement of a partnership with infrastructure developer Bluenest (the AAM subsidiary of Globalavia), Plana shook hands with another big player in the industry, DUC Helices Propellers.

This acclaimed propeller and rotor manufacturer has a strong reputation both in France (where it’s headquartered) and the US. It focuses on products made of carbon composite, known for offering high resistance and durability in a lightweight form, something that’s particularly important for eVTOLs.

The two haven’t shared technical details so far, but it’s clearly a huge step for the South Korean developer. Until now, it got attention mainly for the design of its future aircraft. It won the prestigious iF Design Award for professional concept earlier this year.

The CP-01’s cabin concept revealed a spacious interior with an unconventional six-passenger configuration (most electric air taxis are designed for two to four passengers) and generous storage space. Large doors and bucket seats with three-point belts are some of the elements included for optimal comfort and safety.

Although in-flight comfort was so important for the Plana designers, the VTOL’s main selling point is the hybrid configuration. A few other manufacturers also opted for this solution which drastically increases range compared to purely electric versions.

At the time, the issue of bringing emissions down to zero was tackled by replacing fossil fuel with SAF (sustainable aviation fuel), a solution used by conventional airplanes also. Although this won’t make the Plana air taxi emission-free, it still promises 80% fewer emissions compared to conventional helicopters.
In terms of performance, the hybrid propulsion system would give the CP-01 a range of more than 300 miles (500 km) and a maximum speed of 186 mph (300 kph).

Soon enough, folks in the US will be able to check out the Plana air taxi and enjoy a first-hand experience because the South-Korean company is gearing up to sell it here as well, not just in its home country.

Another milestone this year was the confirmation of a US office set up in Silicon Valley and Irvine. A local office will also facilitate getting the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) certification. In the meantime, Plana continues with a series of flight tests conducted with a small-scale prototype. 

Source: Autoevolution