The Nexus Design Has Evolved Since The Initial Concept

Credit: Textron eAviation

ORLANDO–Textron eAviation, the manufacturer’s recently established advanced air mobility (AAM) division, is advancing the Nexus air taxi originally started by helicopter company Bell Textron.

During a press conference Oct. 17 at the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), Rob Scholl, Textron eAviation president and CEO, said the division is building a first flying prototype at its Wichita headquarters, with the expectation that it “potentially” will enter service by the end of the decade.

Textron eAviation, formed in 2021, will pick up work on the electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) Nexus started by Fort Worth-based Textron Bell in 2017.

“Textron is not new to the eVTOL space,” Scholl said. “Bell began research into this market over five years ago with the Nexus E4D and E6D designs and gained valuable engineering and market insights. That work continues today with the Nexus program under Textron eAviation. Based in Wichita, the Nexus team is leveraging the tremendous experience of industry leaders Bell, Cessna, Beechcraft, McCauley, Lycoming, Pipistrel and other Textron businesses to help enable this work.”

The Nexus design has evolved since Bell’s initial concept, which featured tilting ducted fans for lift. The current design has a fully electric, distributed-propulsion system with four tilting rotors and two stationary vertical lifters. 

The aircraft will be piloted and capable of carrying four passengers. The target range is 100 nm with a cruise speed of 120 kt. Maximum takeoff weight is projected to be 8,000 lb. “To give you a frame of reference, the Nexus will be about the size of a Cessna Caravan,” Scholl said.

“Our pace will be driven by the speed of development of technology, regulations and infrastructure,” Scholl said. “Our pace will be mindful of the efficient investment demanded by our shareholders. We feel that our work today puts Textron eAviation in a strong position to participate in the AAM market as it develops over the coming years and decades.”

Bill Carey

Bill covers business aviation and advanced air mobility for Aviation Week Network. A former newspaper reporter, he has also covered the airline industry, military aviation, commercial space and unmanned aircraft systems. He is the author of 'Enter The Drones, The FAA and UAVs in America,' published in 2016.