Incorporated in 2004 to design, develop and commercialize the unique flight technology that founder Kim Schlunke had invented, Entecho has grown to become a leader in innovative flight technology.
A solid base of core skills including aeronautical and mechanical engineering, flight control avionics and software, composite technology and Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) analysis have all been used to create successful working prototypes of Entecho’s flying craft.
The company will maximize its commercial potential through the manufacture and licensing of its products and technology into the recreational, aerospace and Defence industries.
Entecho has received two Federal Innovation grants and has created strong academic linkages with several Universities in Australia.
Entecho actively seeks to develop and promote the skills of very bright young Engineering undergraduates through part time and vacation work programs.
Kim is the inventor of Entecho’s technology and a founder of the company. Prior to founding Entecho, Kim spent 25 years with the Orbital Engine Corp, starting as a graduate Engineer, culminating with 10 years between 1992 and 2002 as CEO. Whilst with Orbital, Kim achieved several substantial licensing and joint-venture agreements, mainly in the recreational industry.
Kim graduated with Honours from the University of Newcastle, and was awarded the Rolls Royce Award for Engineering Excellence. Kim is a member of the Society for Automotive Engineers and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronomics.
Tom P. Baskovich
Tom was previously the Director of Patents & Licensing at Orbital Corporation Limited, a listed Perth based research and development company, and was part of the senior leadership team of that company for over 15 years.
Tom received his 1st Class Honor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Western Australia before undertaking further studies in the area of patents and intellectual property. He is a member of the Licensing Executive Society, Intellectual Property Society, Australia and New Zealand, and the Institute of Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys Australia.
Glenn was formerly managing director of Dolphin Group ASA, a listed IT company in Norway, working with chip and software all over the world and selling primarily into the aircraft and medical industries.
He has built up a telecom company that has been sold to Telenor, which is the national telecommunications company in Norway.
Glenn also worked in the energy industry for many years at the management level. He will now be responsible for contacts with investors and strategic plans in Entecho.
Russell Kempnich is the founding partner of Sedgman & Associates Pty Ltd, Russell has more than 30 years experience in Australian and international Industry.
As Managing Director of Sedgman from 1991, Russell led the organisation’s growth from a consulting and engineering firm, to a market leader in coal preparation, design and construction. He was responsible for the expansion of the company’s operations internationally. In 1998 Russell became the Executive Chairman, of Sedgman & Associates Pty Ltd. Russell then became Chairman in April 2006 and no longer has executive responsibilities within Sedgman.
Russ has a keen interest in motorsport, competing successfully in motor racing in both Australia and internationally.
Russ brings a wide range of managerial, financial and technical skills and experience to Entecho.
Rodney Lamb was also a key member ot the successful Sedgman team. Rod’s experience includes project management, electrical engineering and controls, computing, process and structural engineering.
Rod has a keen interest in motorised recreational products, having owned several motorcycle shops and a motorcycle race team, Sunstate Racing that has competed successfully in Australia. Rod provides key technical support in many of the disciplines being used at Entecho.
Computational Fluid Dynamics
Entecho’s CFD team is central to the development of our lifting technology. The team's expertise and the use of the STAR-CD CFD software package allows them to accurately and efficiently predict the flight performance, lifting efficiency and control authorities of our prototype vehicles.
Our mechanical engineers design components for optimal strength, minimum weight and maximum reliability. The team is committed to the process of applying engineering mechanics and structural analysis within a 3D Computer Aided Design model to create a functional and safe structure. This team is comprised of our in-house engineers and our partner, Strike Products engineering.
Entecho’s proficient composite team has made extensive use of advanced composite materials to achieve the necessary strength, light weight and crash protection in each of the Entecho craft. Our engineers team with our partner, Composite components, for both structural design and manufacturing processes for each component. This team is fundamental to the successful development of each prototype vehicle.
At Entecho it is our policy to employ state-of-the art flight control design techniques, including model based simulations and fly-by-wire control systems. These analysis tools and systems are carefully developed and validated by our accomplished flight control team in order to produce maximum flight performance without compromising safety. This team is comprised of our in-house engineers working with our partner, Quisitive Pty Ltd.
Our team of experienced and highly trained technicians manufacture components, assemble mechanical systems, prepare and conduct experiments, and source the necessary parts critical to the construction of our prototype models.
Procurement and Infrastructure Team
Any fast growing company needs to swiftly and efficiently address the many changing requirements triggered by each growth phase. The Procurement and Infrastructure Team ensures that the infrastructure and technical working environment is consistent with providing the most efficient output possible. The team also provides the worldwide sourcing of components and specialised tools which is a crucial element of Entecho’s rapid prototyping capability.
A Revolutionary Lifting Process
Entecho has overcome the key challenge of generating lift within a small vehicle envelope by employing a novel rotor fan and a unique combination of lifting surfaces. Unlike conventional fans which draw air from one side to the other, Entecho’s centrifugal fan moves air radially from the center to its outside. Lift is generated as the radial flow from the fan is directed downward by the skirt. The skirt refers to the airtight flexible membrane which wraps circularly around the body of the craft and is located downstream of the rotor.
- Rotor: The CAV rotor is a cylindrical drum (or centrifugal) fan which rotates about the central vertical axis of the craft.
- Airflow: As the drum fan rotates it pumps air radially through its blades. The air is drawn into the intake duct and is then accelerated as it passes through the fan. It is then directed downward by the skirt creating lift.
- High Pressure: High pressure regions form as a result of the air being accelerated through the ducts by the rotating drum fan. These regions of higher pressure act on specific surfaces of the craft producing lifting forces.
- Overall lift: The overall lifting force is a result of summing together all of the lifting forces.
Why a Centrifugal Fan?
The use of a centrifugal fan to produce vertical lift is the central concept of Entecho’s advanced lifting technology. This is primarily because it allows the creation of an extremely compact craft which has VTOL capabilities and high lifting efficiencies.
In order to understand why this is possible, first it is necessary to examine the aerodynamics of an ordinary helicopter rotor blade. Helicopter blades are axial and therefore the rotational velocity of the blade varies along its length, reaching a maximum at the blade tip. Since lift is proportional to velocity squared only the outer section of the blade is travelling with enough velocity to produce significant lift. This results in a small outer portion of the blade producing the majority of the lift and, consequently, longer blades are required to achieve the desired flight performance.
Unlike a helicopter rotor blade, the centrifugal Entecho rotor locates the entire span of the blades at the same maximum radius from the rotational axis. Hence, each blade is travelling through the air with the same rotational velocity for any given rotor RPM. This allows us to design a simple two dimensional blade geometry that will achieve maximum efficiency along its entire length. Moreover, each blade is now travelling at the maximum velocity possible at that RPM and radius of rotation. Hence, every blade has the maximum possible energy to perform work on the air and consequently produce lift.
Unique Control Techniques
The skirt is a flow vectoring nozzle that can generate high levels of control power. This skirt accesses the entire moving air stream, so by simply controlling the movement of the skirt, we can develop very desirable response characteristics both in translation and rotation.
Safety Focused Design
The blades of the hubless fan move at relatively low speeds, and are enclosed by the skirt. This eliminates the danger of high-speed, exposed blades that feature on helicopters and propeller planes. Furthermore, should a blade ever break for some reason, the broken blade will not penetrate the skirt since it is extremely light and will be moving relatively slowly. The lack of exposed blades means that safe operation near objects such as buildings and trees becomes possible.
The structure of Entecho’s YouFly incorporates a safety cell which has significant radial strength and maximizes the amount of energy that can be absorbed in a crash prior to any structure intruding into the central compartment.
Entecho has focussed initial development on a vehicle which is height controlled to approximately 1.5 m to maximize safety, but retains multi-terrain capability and the sensation of free flight.
Aerodynamics is integral to the design of Entecho’s advanced flight technology. Detailed knowledge of the behaviour of air flow within our lifting system allows us to make informed design decisions. Consequently, we are able to improve lifting efficiency, increase control authority and ultimately work towards achieving our target flight performance characteristics. Moreover, aerodynamic study provides us with an understanding of how our craft will move through the air, whether it is in hover or with some velocity.
Entecho’s aerodynamic knowledge is largely acquired through Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis, test rig validation and further consultancy with expert aeronautical engineers.
The flight control system is an essential component of all aircraft. An aircrafts flight control system consists of any mechanisms, controls and electronics required to maintain controllability and stability of the aircraft during flight. Many advanced modern aircraft employ a sophisticated flight control computer to continually predict the current state of the craft from sensor input. Modelling and simulation of the aircraft flight mechanics is required to develop these state prediction algorithms. The flight controller uses the predicted aircraft state to interpret pilot input and produce actuator commands that optimally achieve the desired flight behaviour.
Entecho employs state of the art flight control design techniques, including model based simulations and fly by wire control systems. These techniques ensure the rapid development of our flight control systems, minimizing cost and maximizing functionality.
The underlying principle behind all Entecho craft is simplicity. This leads to our ultimate goals of maximum performance and affordability. Applying computer aided design and analysis techniques to known materials allows Entecho engineers to design components for:
- optimal strength
- minimum weight and
- maximum reliability
All components take advantage of manufacturing techniques refined for the motorised recreational vehicle industry to result in improved manufacturability and reduced cost.
Entecho’s revolutionary flight technology is a solution to the demand for an entirely new type of aircraft: The Compact Aerial Vehicle or CAV. The CAV represents a unique way of flying and has many advantages over conventional aircraft such as aeroplanes and helicopters.
Entecho is currently developing prototypes of two types of CAV; the YouFly and the Mupod.
The central features of the CAV are listed below:
Unlike helicopters or aeroplanes, which require significant structures beyond the main fuselage, the CAV is extremely compact. Its skirt extends only a short distance from the main body.
Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) is a commonly sought after capability, as it allows greater operational flexibility than conventional fixed-wings. Without requiring take-off and landing infrastructure such as runways, catapults, or nets. A VTOL craft can be launched and landed almost anywhere.
Unlike conventional, coaxial, tandem and quad rotor helicopters, CAV does not have any dangerously exposed rotors, making the CAV safer than helicopters or aeroplanes in this respect. Furthermore, the inflated ducting creates a protective barrier in the event of contact with obstacles. Therefore the CAV could potentially operate safely near infrastructure, within urban environments and even indoors.
Low Blade Speeds
Low blade speeds (approximately one fifth of conventional rotorcraft) further enhance the safety of the CAV. In the event that a blade is broken, the detached blade would not have sufficient energy to penetrate the skirt, by virtue of the low blade mass and relatively low operation speeds. The low blade speeds reduce Blade-Vortex Interaction (BVI) noise and reduce the take-off and landing signature, which refers to noise and environmental impact on the landing site.
As opposed to the mechanically complicated cyclic swash-plate and mechanically coupled tail rotor found in a conventional helicopter, the CAV implements a single rotor, combined with skirt and vane deflections for control. This system uses fewer and simpler parts than a conventional helicopter, which should ultimately make it less expensive to manufacture and maintain.
Stability and Control
The CAVs skirt is a lightweight, low-cost, high authority, omni-directional attitude actuator. Combined with the angular momentum bias generated by rotor, the CAV possesses some passive attitude damping and resistance to external torque disturbances such as wind gusts and load shifts.
The CAV can be intuitively operated with simple joystick controls.
The YouFly is the ultimate recreational vehicle, combining the freedom of the hovercraft and All-Terrain-Vehicles (ATV) with the performance of Personal-Watercraft (PWC) and Snowmobiles. The YouFly flies at a greater altitude than a conventional hovercraft, allowing it to pass over any terrain. The YouFly also enjoys the freedom to tilt and develop translational g-forces in any direction. This omni-directional ability makes the YouFly further unique compared to conventional recreational vehicles.
Just imagine the possibilities with the YouFly!
Entecho has developed its first prototype YouFly, with the following specifications:
|Diameter (skirt retracted)||2.1 m|
|Diameter (skirt deployed)||2.6 m|
|Maximum Take-Off Weight||200 kg|
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
The Mupod is Entecho’s Micro Unmanned CAV, at one quarter the size of the YouFly. It may be easily transported and deployed anywhere. With no exposed blades, the Mupod will be safe to fly indoors or near other objects. With VTOL capability, stable hovering and low noise thanks to electric motors, the Mupod will be ideal for many UAV situations.
With a diameter of only 600 mm in flight, the Mupod is narrow enough to fly indoors, down hallways and through doorways (800 mm). The Mupod’s flexible skirt acts as a protective buffer, so light contact with objects such as walls, poles or trees is no problem, unlike craft with exposed blades such as helicopters. Therefore, the Mupod is the ideal candidate for UAV missions in unstructured clustered environments. For transportability, the Mupod skirt can be retracted to be a compact 500 mm diameter, making it great for backpack deployment.
By implementing high efficiency brushless electric motors and high energy density Lithium Polymer batteries, the Mupod’s propulsion system is mechanically simple, clean, quiet, safe and easily maintainable. Furthermore, the lack of exhaust emissions allows the Mupod to be operated indoors.
The current state-of-the art in Lithium Polymer Batteries limits the Mupod’s endurance to less than half an hour. For greater endurance requirements, alternative propulsion system can be implemented.
Mupod Prototype Specifications
The Mupod has the following specifications:
|Diameter (skirt retracted)||500 mm|
|Diameter (skirt deployed)||600 mm|
|Maximum Take-Off Weight||6 kg|