The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

Manta Aircraft was formed in June 2019 by a group of European entrepreneurs. It is based in southern Switzerland. The company is in the early stages of developing a pair of light hybrid-electric aircraft that it describes as VTOL/STOL. These include the single-seat ANN1 and the two-seat ANN2. 

On December 9, 2020, Manta made a short first flight with a one-third scaled model of the ANN2. It aims to start testing a full-scale prototype in 2022 and be ready for the pre-production phase by the end of 2023.

Early drawings of the all-composite aircraft show a V-shaped tail, a main fixed wing and a forward canard. A hybrid propulsion system consists of an unspecified engine with electric motors driving eight ducted fans. The aircraft are intended to be used in either vertical takeoff mode, or (for more range) in short takeoff and landing environments. Range is projected to be up to 600 km (373 miles) and cruise speed up to 300 km (186 mph).

Manta intends to forge a partnership with a partner to handle the production phase of the program. It has applied for patents covering the flight control system that it is developing in-house. Composites specialist Ycom, which has extensive experience in the motorsports sector, is making fuselages and wings for early development models.

Timeline

Projected

test flight

First flight of full-scale prototype
Missed Projection

test flight

First flight of one-third scale model

Outlook

Our objective assessment of this program’s probable success.

FutureFlight assesses the probability of success for a new aircraft program by considering the following criteria:

  • Total investment funds available in proportion to the anticipated cost of getting an aircraft certified and in service
  • A company’s in-house capability (in terms of numbers of engineers, technical staff, and customer support teams)
  • The past experience of the company and its senior leadership in developing aircraft
  • The caliber and past experience of key program partners
  • Whether key aircraft systems have been selected and are available for use
  • Whether the preliminary design review has been completed
  • Whether the design for the full-scale prototype has been completed
  • Whether the type certification process has been formally initiated with an appropriate regulator
  • Whether the company has achieved a first flight with a full-scale prototype
  • The number of hours logged in a flight test program
  • Whether type certification has been achieved
  • The number of orders and commitment received for the aircraft
  • Whether the company has adequate facilities to begin series production of the aircraft
Our Methodology

Manta Aircraft's small team appears to be at the very early stages of developing its aircraft. They have some design experience, but much of it comes from other fields such as cars and yachts. However, co-founded and CEO Lucas Marchesini was previously with Pilatus Aircraft.

As of November 2020, it was unclear how much of a financial foundation the venture has and whether it is sufficient to meet its initial goal of starting flight testing with a full-scale prototype of the ANN2. Its ability to be ready to start the pre-production phase in 2023, as planned, is contingent on it forging alliances with one or more key partners.