Imagine boarding a plane at a local helipad, then taking off vertically from Boston and arriving in New York City 36 minutes later.
Boston-based Transcend Air Corporation is working on an aircraft that will make such travel a reality. The company plans to launch the Vy 400, a vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (VTOL) in 2024, said Greg Bruell, CEO of Transcend Air. Bruell’s company is currently working on prototypes of the plane.
“The neat thing about this aircraft is it combines the ability to take off like a helicopter with the ability to go really fast,” Bruell said.
The Vy 400 will fly travelers to destinations within 450 miles at 405 miles per hour, which is three times faster than a helicopter travels, according to Bruell. The company is using proven technologies already on the market, such as a tilt-wing design that allows the aircraft to take off and land like a helicopter and a whole-aircraft parachute for safety. The plane’s vertical takeoff and landing means there will be no need for an airport or a runway.
Bruell’s inspiration for the plane came from the fact that he works and lives in the Boston area and travels frequently to the New York City area to visit family. He said the trip has become more time consuming over the years due to congestion during the commute and at the airport.
“We think what we’re going to be able to offer people is the best possible door-to-door times while maintaining a relatively competitive price,” Bruell said.
The one-way flight between New York and Boston will cost $283, which Bruell said is competitive with one-way commercial flight prices between the two cities when tickets are booked within a six-day window typical of a business traveler.
Travelers will board the aircraft on a helipad.
“We’re going to have to find a way to work with the community to put [helipads] in place,” Bruell said. “But our goal is to land on the water. The reason for that is noise concerns.”
Once on board, the experience will be similar to a commercial flight’s, but roomier, he said. The seats will be 23 inches wide, which is larger than typical seats on commercial airlines.
“We wanted to have the experience be something you’d expect if you were traveling business class,” Bruell said. “The legroom is excellent. So, for the size of aircraft that it is, the experience is very spacious.”
The aircrafts will carry up to five passengers, along with a pilot. What you won’t find will be restrooms or flight attendants for the short trip, Bruell said. An aircraft the size of the Vy 400 is not required to have restrooms, according to Bruell, whose said his company has already started the certification process with the FAA.
Bruell said the company wants to launch the service with a fleet of 10 aircraft in the Boston/New York market and grow from there. The company has also posted on its website plans to fly between Los Angeles and San Francisco, a 55-minute trip that will cost $315, and Montreal and Toronto, a 60-minute trip that will cost $325. Bruell’s team is currently eyeing 46 different routes it can service between cities across the U.S.
He said his company will perform route tests between Boston and New York City in the next two years.