Already known for its aircraft’s nearly instant takeoffs and landings measured in plane lengths, CubCrafters is developing a new kind of powered leading-edge slat that will shorten both. The company has unveiled its Electric Lift Augmenting Slats (ELAS) and says it has the potential for broad application in the industry. It also might blunt the appeal of eVTOL aircraft while adapting technology developed for those aircraft. “ELAS is a disruptive concept that carries unprecedented benefits, including enabling fixed-wing aircraft to operate outside of designated airports and manage much higher payloads versus comparable eVTOL aircraft—all while enhancing safety,” said CEO Patrick Horgan.
On the test bed NX Cub, the company uses a dozen small electric ducted fans to blow air across the top of the wing. The faster air over the top surface increases lift by a factor of 1.5 to 4, depending on the flight profile. The patented technology can be added to existing airframes or incorporated at the factory. “As our research and development continues, ELAS may prove to have the ability to dramatically enhance the short field performance capabilities of fixed-wing aircraft in general aviation as well as commercial aviation,” Horgan said.