The team is lead by Prof. Satya Chakravarthy, a professor of Aerospace Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM), with a bachelor's degree also from IITM and masters and doctoral degrees from Georgia Tech. In the last 10 years, Prof. Chakravarthy has been instrumental in building globally the largest academic combustion R&D centre at IITM, which has attracted funding of around 30 million US$ from industry and government R&D institutions.
Recently, Prof. Chakravarthy cofounded The ePlane Company (registered as Ubifly Technologies). They are currently developing a 2-seater electric VTOL-fixed wing hybrid aircraft for urban aerial mobility, which involves new developments on propulsion-aerodynamics interaction for enhanced lift/drag ratio. In parallel, they are leading the development of a metal-air battery to drive its energy density closer to the theoretical limit. Their calculations show that this will be sufficient for the Transatlantic flying distances required for the Freedom Flight Prize with a pure electric aircraft.
Prof. Satya Chakravarthy told us, "We have accomplished early successes in both of the above IP developments, and plan to pursue both in parallel towards commercialisation in the next few years, i.e., by 2024-2025. This is the basis for our entry for the Freedom Flight Prize, and we have already completed an initial sizing of the aircraft configuration needed. We will proceed with the detailed design of the 100-seater electric plane, and allocate some funds for the manufacturing of the prototype and testing in time for flying the Transatlantic distance before 2029."