The demonstrator for a blended wing-body business aircraft, known as Starling, could be flying in the United Kingdom as early as March 2019, if sufficient investors make their way to Booth WN07 at Changi this week. Project originator Seyed Mohseni is at the air show to raise some of the GBP90 million (US$126 million) he estimates is necessary to fulfill his vision for a 10-seat, composite-structure, pressurized, VTOL, economic and environmentally friendly airplane.

Roosting at Cranfield University Technology Park, 40 mi. (65 km) north of London, Mohseni envisages two variants of his Starling: the hybrid electric e-Starling and the turbine Starling Jet. The former could cause a flutter by entering service as early as 2022 at a price of GBP6 million; the latter will become a bird in the hand two years later, with a bill of GBP8 million.

However, swooping past both will be a much smaller UAV of the same feather, with a wing span of 3 m (10 ft.) and a 10-kg (22-lb.) payload, which could be ready to fly the nest this September.

The name, says Mohseni, derives from the fact that Starlings gather in large, coordinated flocks and never collide while maneuvering in the air.

The e-Starling has four electric-powered fans to deliver VTOL performance: two in the wingroots thrusting vertically, and two on pylons farther aft, shrouded, and with Harrier-type, 90-deg. swiveling nozzles, which are retracted when the fan is employed for forward movement. Between the V tail, a gas turbine provides both main forward thrust (measured in pounds Starling, perhaps?) and battery charging for the fans.

Safety features include a ballistic recovery parachute – requiring some extended development by the OEM – and an undercarriage rated for up to 500 precautionary, conventional landings during the aircraft’s lifetime. The swiveling nozzles, while handling only cold air, will be more complex than the Harrier’s and might be replaced by a rotating mechanism for the complete rear fan units.

And if you like the idea, but can’t afford to invest, then why not just tweet the Starling?