Phractyl Macrobat, is a flying car shaped like a bird, a bonkers and idealistic take on air mobility.

You could call it a flying car flying plane, and the folks behind it, a team of African researchers and designers, would probably appreciate it. Launched in mid-November (tip of the hat to Interesting Engineering), it is now raising funds to continue the development of the study and build a first functional prototype.

PHRACTYL comments on the concept behind its macrobat, and its development: ‘it would be extremely cool to be able to travel around in a clean energy ‘flying car,’ but the project is also aimed at solving many other critical transportation challenges. this is especially relevant in the african context, where the land-based transport infrastructure is not well developed.’

south african startup PHRACTYL unveils a hybrid bird-plane with its concept ‘macrobat.’ the personal airplane is ‘inspired by nature,’ and is unlike anything that the industry has created before. the team promises a ‘near-vertical takeoff and landing, even from unprepared terrain.’ what’s more, the vehicle is proposed to operate with 100% electric power. with these qualities, PHRACTYL’s ‘personal aerial vehicles’ seeks to expand mobility across africa without introducing new infrastructure that would harm the environment.


Phractyl Macrobat, a flying car shaped like a bird, is a bonkers and idealistic take on air mobility.
Phractyl Macrobat, a flying car shaped like a bird, is a bonkers and idealistic take on air mobility.
Phractyl Macrobat, a flying car shaped like a bird, is a bonkers and idealistic take on air mobility.
Phractyl Macrobat, a flying car shaped like a bird, is a bonkers and idealistic take on air mobility.

The benefit of the extended wait is that it allows more time to perfect the battery technology, which in turn will give Phractyl the chance to finalize the design on the craziest and most all-time idealist. As the “The most genius” artist on the face of the planet would say (* Kanye West): OF ALL TIME.

Here is Macrobat, an all-electric PAV (Personal Air Vehicle) like no other. You could call it a flying car flying plane, and the folks behind it, a team of African researchers and designers, would probably appreciate it. Launched in mid-November (tip of the hat to Interesting Engineering), it is now raising funds to continue the development of the study and build a first functional prototype.

Phractyl, the name of the startup, stands for PHrontier for Agile Complex Technology sYstem evoLution. Macrobat was named so because “Bats are the only mammals capable of flight, and the Macrobat facilitates the flight of another type of mammal (badum-tish)” as the description on the official website says. As you can see, the people behind the project have a very healthy sense of humor which probably helps when it comes to selling such a crazy idea like this.

On the premise that Africa is a region that poses a different set of challenges when it comes to any kind of mobility solution, whether on land or in the air, Phractyl came up with a very African solution to a African problem. They studied birds in the development of an aircraft capable of landing and taking off from any type of terrain, which would allow it to access remote places inaccessible otherwise.

However, Macrobat would do a lot more than just fly people on safari. The team says it could transport cargo or specialist personnel wherever needed, and thus function as an emergency vehicle, an infrastructure inspection plane, or even a good agricultural spray plane to l ‘Ancient. The video below, told in a mismatched rhyme, better explains the multiple features of the bird plane, and how it would end up. grow money on trees encourage the local economy and support small businesses, while solving several other transport problems on the continent.

Idealism aside, the design of NVTOL (Near-Vertical Take Off and Landing Aircraft, a new category that Phractyl is creating specifically for this thing) is absolutely bonkers. It looks like a bird, a mechanical bird that flew from a B-list sci-fi movie. It sits on two articulated mechanical bird legs, with caterpillars at its feet. The legs allow you to take off from all kinds of terrain, providing initial thrust; in the meantime, the runways should facilitate landing in remote areas.

When it comes to take off, the Macrobat tilts upward from nose to tail, including the wings. Speaking of which, Phractyl says they will be “Capable of generating lift at low speed”, but no further details can be provided at this time as the design is not patented. So what you see in the renderings is not the final wing.

Once it’s up in the air, the landing gear, i.e. the bird’s legs, retracts to reduce drag, and it flies much like a real plane without a shape. ‘bird. Like most eVTOLs currently in development, the Macrobat will either be flown by a human or operated from the ground, like a drone. The latter should be useful, given that renderings show this to be a single-seater – at least at this point.

Figures published on the official website mention a payload of 330 pounds (150 kg), a range of 93 miles (150 km) and a top speed of 111 mph (180 km / h). These would apply to the flagship model, which would be a variation of what is shown in the renderings. A larger version, ideal for air taxi and recreational purposes, would be further down the (production) line.

As to when that bird plane might take flight, don’t hold your breath. Noting how battery technology still is “Go through puberty” the Phractyl team notes, “So we’re going to give it a few years to mature, and in the meantime, compensate with a very efficient aero design.”

To make the wait more bearable, here is the Macrobat intro video

“We are PHRACTYL, a South African startup company on a quest to bring sustainable mobility to Africa. We are currently working on the development of a personal aerial vehicle. It would be extremely cool to be able to travel around in a clean energy “flying car”, but the project is also aimed at solving many other critical transportation challenges. This is especially relevant in the African context, where the land-based transport infrastructure is not well developed.”