Pegasus is the name of the jet engine that gave the Harrier its VTOL capability; and Pegasus is the South African company on Booth D23 with the intention of securing funds for development of a VBJ – Vertical Business Jet. There the similarity ends – to the great relief of anyone who has suffered the misfortune of standing close to a hovering Harrier – because the VBJ is no jet, but the possessor of shrouded lifting- and thrusting fans, with which to endear itself to the neighbors.

Founded by its CEO, Dr Reza Mia, Pegasus Universal Aerospace revealed its ambitious plans at the Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition last September. With local patents already secured, and U.S. and European equivalents pending, the time is ripe for an international launch at EBACE.

Pegasus offers a jet-type cruising speed of 410 kts (759 km/h), with helicopter versatility. Its key markets are envisaged as Europe, India, and China. Mia has supplied initial funding himself, but at least $400 million is needed to start production.

VBJ1 arrives in Geneva in the form of a one-eighth scale model, like the testbed which has already demonstrated the basics of the design in a wind tunnel. Next year, Reza plans to tour Europe with a cabin mockup and also fly a full-scale prototype, which could lead to customers receiving their first, certified VBJ1s in 2024.

The all-composite VBJ1 can operate from both heliports and conventional runways. Its deep, wide-chord, inverted gull wings have a pair of vertically-mounted, cold-air lift fans in each inboard panel, covered by louvres when not in use.

Two shrouded fans are mounted at rear of the fuselage for forward propulsion, each fitted with a half-tailplane and an outward inclined fin. The six fans will be powered by two turboshaft engines buried in the rear fuselage, fed by a spine air intake.

No firm decision on power has been made yet, although two General Electric CT7-8 turboshafts, each 2,300 shp (1,715 kW), are under consideration. Power transfer is to be by direct drive and gearboxes, although Pegasus is alive to the rival benefits of hybrid electric transmission. Seating is for between six and eight passengers, including one beside the pilot.

On 539 U.S. gallons (2,040 litres) of fuel, VBJ1 is to have a range of VTOL 1,150 n miles (2,130 km) in VTOL mode, or 2,380 n miles (4,400 km) as an airplane, flying at a maximum height of 35,000 feet (10,670 m).