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A novel concept of an extremely short take off and landing all-surface (ESTOLAS) hybrid aircraft: from a light passenger aircraft to a very high payload cargo/passenger version

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Total project cost
€718 516
EU Contribution
€583 243
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Vehicle design and manufacturing (VDM)
Transport mode
Airborne icon
Transport policies
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Call for proposal
Link to CORDIS

The concept of the project is to develop and validate the conceptual design of a hybrid aircraft a flying device combining the best qualities of an airship, a plane, a helicopter and a hovercraft. Such hybrid aircraft constitutes a completely novel type of an aircraft extremely short take off and landing on any surface (ESTOLAS).


ESTOLAS aircraft will have the following major advantages compared to the existing air vehicles. This aircraft is a mixed type 'flying wing', the basic part of which is the disk shaped centre plane. In general it serves as a receptacle of elevating gas (helium). In the channel of its centre there are a jacking system and a cargo cabin and on the edges there are a pilot-passenger cabin, cantilevered wings and a tail.

The combined takeoff and landing device is placed underneath: wheel and ski bearers and air cushioned landing gear. Three principles of creating the lifting force: aerostatic, aerodynamic and jet, used on this aircraft, possibility of landing on an all-terrain flat surface, airflow over the systems of control and stabilization generated by the power plant's propellers, rather low specific loading on bearing surfaces with simultaneous use of modern aviation control systems and navigation allow to achieve high reliability and safety of operation.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
The European Commission
Type of funding
Public (EU)


A novel aircraft with many capabilities

Hybrid aircraft combining the best of an airship, plane, helicopter and hovercraft could provide major benefits in numerous applications. Scientists improved current concepts in a rigorous experimental and modelling campaign.

Designed to enable extremely short take-off and landing on all surfaces, such hybrid aircraft are well-suited to accessing remote areas without airports. Applications could include search-and-rescue missions, island hopping and tourism, and expanded business connection.

Building on a partner's previous experience and a working full-size prototype, scientists set out to test the theoretical solution to the low stability problem observed in certain situations. With EU support of the project (ESTOLAS), the team proposed an architecture akin to a mixed-type flying wing. The main part was a disk-shaped centreplane housing the helium and with a channel in its centre for a cargo cabin. On the edges were the pilot and passenger cabin, cantilevered wings and the tail. The combined take-off and landing gear were placed underneath.

ESTOLAS set out to optimise the aerodynamic flanges to resolve stability issues for four different models accommodating small, medium, large and super-large payloads. Within the scope of the project, scientists also evaluated the performance of demonstrators in wind tunnel and remote-controlled flight tests and studied aspects related to runways, safety and certification.

Aerodynamic experiments on the ESTOLAS hybrid aircraft provided important data on lift. In addition, the team evaluated performance with both currently available advanced engines as well as planned future engine concepts. The proposed propulsion system paves the way to pioneering flight control that enables vertical take-off and landing operations even for aircraft with heavy payloads. The team proposed an optimal architecture for a future all-electric ESTOLAS in line with EU goals for the transport industry.

The ESTOLAS concepts were superior to other aircraft in their capabilities for short take-off and landing as well as all-surface operation. However, to achieve additional clear advantages in other areas over traditional aircraft, the team identified specific technological areas for development.

Scientists have contributed comprehensive computer-aided design methodology and protocols for research and evaluation of hybrids. Together with models to predict performance criteria with minimal uncertainty, the tools will support knowledge-based advances in the hybrid aircraft model that has captured global attention.


Lead Organisation
Riga Technical University
Kalku str. 1, RIGA, 1658, Latvia
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€246 405
Partner Organisations
Qualitypark Aviationcenter Gmbh
Schellerdamm 22-24, 21079 Hamburg, Germany
EU Contribution
€80 400
Agentur Kronstadt Gmbh
Neuer Wall 61, 20354 Hamburg, Germany
EU Contribution
€148 230
Cranfield Aerospace Limited
Cranfield University Campus Hangar 2, Cranfield, MK43 0AL, United Kingdom
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€108 208


Technology Theme
Aircraft propulsion
Aviation hybrid electric powertrain
Development phase

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