What if there were a way to deliver countless essential resources around developing countries where roads were poor quality or non-existent? Vertical Takeoff and Landing technology offers a modern solution, without the size and weight constraints of ordinary drone technology.
Follow innovator Thorsten U. Reinhardt on a journey through technology and space as a cutting-edge organization develops a Vertical Takeoff and Landing Aircraft prototype. The team then ventures across the African continent to raise awareness about an alternative to developing costly infrastructure. Building this costly infrastructure now stifles economic growth and fully realized potential in many countries.
Thorsten U. Reinhardt, a German entrepreneur and author, has worked and lived in Ashford Kent, United Kingdom, with his wife and three children since 2011. Over the past 13 years Thorsten dedicated his life to developing innovative and revolutionary technologies in the energy, aviation and logistics sector together with his father Gert.
Thorsten’s immediate goal is to take his aircraft project to the next level and build a 1:4 scale prototype of what will eventually be a 30-ton cargo aircraft with Vertical Take Off and Landing capabilities. He forecasts that the production aircraft will be able to transport freight that will cost 40% less than a truck and will be able to transport its freight quicker from A to B.
The scaled model will measure approximately 3x4metres and is estimated to carry a minimum of 100kg in payload.
To progress to this point has not been easy. Thorsten describes the path in his book “The Struggle for a Better Future”.
Once the aircraft model, that carries the name TU523, has been built, Thorsten and a team of explorers will depart on a journey through the African continent where flight demonstrations will be held at various locations.
The development, as well as the challenging journey through Africa with a 4x4 vehicle towing the TU523, will be captured on film and is to become a jaw-dropping documentary. The Team will also be vlogging along the way, so as backers you will be able to keep up with our developments as we go. You will see your contributions come to life before your eyes.
The advantage of the TU523 will be cost savings for the economy and reduce the need for the expensive highway infrastructure that the trucking industry requires. In many African countries, this infrastructure does not exist, nor is there the money and resolve to build it. Whilst for many people in large developing countries resources exist, transporting them and the matter of logistics prevent their beneficial use where they are needed most. That’s why the TU523 alternative is so important.
The TU523 will also provide Africans a close-up look at technology in use. To see the VTOL progress from a prototype to a working aircraft will encourage students and young adults. They will be motivated to study and seek employment in technology in Africa and elsewhere. Those who study and begin their working life elsewhere will likely return to make contributions in their own country. Apart from the flight displays and presentations, we will be keen to meet with individuals along the way (and give us and them the opportunity to learn from one another).
The TU523 has been designed to operate efficiently and be environmentally friendly. It is an infrastructure solution with its ability to identify, land on and connect to a shipping container. It then transports the precious cargo directly to its destination without the need for new and expensive infrastructure.
The prospects for VTOL aircraft generally and the TU523 specifically, is staggering. We have already built other models on a smaller scale which demonstrate the amazing abilities of the technology we are pioneering. The project is definitely worthy of crowdfunding.
The team intends to work with Guinness World Records on numerous occasions along the journey to demonstrate the versatility the aircraft offers. With demonstrations planned at various universities along the route, there will be many opportunities to set new records in VTOL performance.
There will also be many opportunities to introduce African students to technology and inspire them to complete their studies. African universities will also invite promising young students to view these demonstrations to encourage younger students to strive for higher education.
For Thorsten, this has become a very important project to complete. At the present time developing countries are continuously struggling to keep up with their demand for infrastructure, which is making transportation of goods and their logistics challenging and these challenges will only escalate with ever increasing demand for transportation in the future. In Cote D’ivoire for example, roads that are meant to last 20 years, only last 2-3 years and that has left 60% of the roads in a dire state. Funds are not available for new construction and even money for road maintenance is scarce.
And this is not a rare scenario, rather it is common in developing countries around the world.
In the developing world the TU523 can be an important alternative for freight transport in the short term, as countries build their economy and ability to afford infrastructure projects. And also in the long term when demand for freight transport will surely outstrip infrastructure capabilities.
At the same time, it is predicted that by 2030, as much as USD 50 Trillion will be required for global infrastructure and global airline traffic could increase by approximately 4.7% annually.
Experts predict that air freight transportation will increase by 5.9% per year in the periods between 2010 and 2030. Many countries in the developing world will not be able to afford airports to keep up with this growth. The advantage of a VTOL is its ability to land and takeoff without airport facilities. Moreover, it is a point-to-point solution which eliminates the need for surface movement of freight at the destination.
Air passenger traffic would double within 15 years. Air freight would actually triple in 20 years and handling of shipping containers at ports would quadruple by 2030.
Will the developing world be able to keep up with this exponential increase in transportation demand? Not likely without an aircraft like the TU523 to augment shipping capacity compared to similar technologies limited to a very low payload.
Thorsten is determined to build the TU523 based on the existing software and control algorithm and demonstrate a solution to the existing problem.
This road trip is going to be very challenging, but Thorsten wants to highlight the issues that developing countries are facing, not only in the city, but also in the rural areas.
As education and the well-being of the people is something that is close to Thorsten’s heart, he wants to find out for himself the contrast in opportunities and living between those from the city and rural areas. He hopes this trip will begin the path of education for future TU523 engineers as well as creating new opportunities to countries, its economy and people.
The final destination of the trip will be Cape Town, where Thorsten will be sharing his experience along the way and auctioning off all the items that will have been used on the trip. Proceeds from these sales will go to causes found worthwhile along the journey.
RT Hon Damian Green MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions "I am delighted that you are moving forward with this project, which clearly has the potential to improve the lives of many people in Africa who do not have decent road access. I wish you well in the development of the project."