Published in Midwest Flyer – June/July 2019 issue
BROOMFIELD, COLO. – Business jet design has been stagnating for decades – a simple tube with wings and two engines – one on each side. Granted, they vary in size, range, speed, and comfort, but in the end, there has been nothing disruptive—just evolutionary. Frontline’s eye-catching “SkyFan™” business jet design will change this by dramatically doubling the overall energy efficiency of the aircraft, along with a mindful eye toward established passenger requirements of the industry.
SkyFan™ has solved the long-standing challenges of business jets—namely dramatic range and productivity improvements, fuel efficiency, noise reduction, and landing zone flexibility. SkyFan™ is a revolutionary business jet with a propulsive efficiency of a 50 to 1 bypass ratio, compared to typical business jets at 5 to 1. This coupled to mature GE CT7/T700 turboshaft engines, enables SkyFan’s ducted fan to deliver a thrust-to-weight ratio near 1 to 1, a four-passenger range of 5,200 nm, M 0.8 cruise, with a typical fuel economy of $1 per nautical mile. It also achieves short take-off and landing (STOL), and substantial fuselage drag reduction with the centerline ducted fan and diamond-box-wing configuration. These disruptions in business jet design create the core of this revolutionary transformation.
Another innovation in the SkyFan design is the drag reduction afforded by the centerline ducted fan, which ingests and energizes the fuselage boundary layer, reducing the base drag. The diamond box wing allows a very structurally sound, lightweight, high-aspect ratio wing, which also reduces drag and improves efficiency.