The aviation industry in India currently contributes over $72 billion to the Indian GDP (1), having close to 78% domestic passenger traffic and 22% international passenger traffic. While the average domestic flying hours in India is almost 2.5 hours, which flies you across thousands of kilometers, the majority of India is struggling to reach the airport, which takes approximately 2 hours to arrive, which worsens during heavy traffic hours.
According to TomTom’s Trafic Index Rankings (2), Bengaluru stands as the number one most congested city in terms of traffic, holding a congestion level of 71%. Gajendra Kashyap and Alvin Anthony, co-founders at Leap Aeronautics, saw the worsening condition of traffic each day and thought of bringing a solution for the problem that needs to be addressed urgently.
Trimming the traffic hours into flying minutes
One tends to get frustrated to reach a destination across the city in the heavy traffic, which is rising at a high rate in Indian cities and across the major cities of the world. Alvin and Thaariq are regular users of carpooling and taxi services and have witnessed the worsening traffic conditions of the town, similar to other metropolitan cities across the nation.
During Gajendra’s visits to Bangalore, he commutes from the airport to the city, which is almost 40km, and takes him up to 2 hours to reach. The worst happens when ambulances get stuck in traffic, subtracting the minutes out of the precious breathing hours of a critical person. An air ambulance service could help save the life of a person amongst the deadly traffic jam.
Currently, the city has only one helicopter service called Helitaxii.com that work between the Electronic City, the IT district of Bangalore, and the international airport, but it might be too expensive to be afforded by all. With Leap Aeronautics, the entrepreneurial duo aims at reducing the problem of traffic congestion by trimming a distance of 40 km, which usually takes around 2 hours, in just 10 minutes at affordable pricing.
What is Leap Aeronautics?
Leap Aeronautics is an aviation technology startup that is building a piloted, 5 seater, electric aircraft for the logistics, air ambulance & urban air taxi market. The aircraft can take-of vertically and land like a helicopter while flying with the speed & efficiency of an airplane. The startup aims at constructing a revolutionary product for the mass market that will enable faster point-to-point transportation, which will promote a safer, affordable, and eco-friendly solution with no direct CO2 emissions for the environment.
“A product or mode of transport which people always dreamed about or have seen only in movies. For e.g., a distance of 40km can be covered in just 10 minutes at almost the same cost that we pay in a taxi,”
Check out the website for Leap Aeronautics here.
About the Founders- Alvin Anthony & Gajendra Kashyap
Alvin Anthony is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at Leap Aeronautics, who belongs to Chennai. He is an alumnus of The Aeronautics Society of India and has a 12 year+ experience in Flight dynamics, flight testing & certification. He also co-founded two startups prior to the Leap Aeronautics project.
You can check Alvin Anthony’s LinkedIn here.
Gajendra Kashyap is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer for Leap Aeronautics, who belongs to Toulouse, France. Kashyap has completed his education from ISAE France and is a proud alumnus of The Aeronautical Society of India. He also holds a 17 years+ experience in Avionics & Systems Engineering for advanced Aerospace projects.
You can check Gajendra Kashyap’s LinkedIn here.
Reducing costs with electric vehicle technology
Despite holding high prices, multiple people compromise extra money to save their time and use the Helitaxii service. As a matter of fact, despite owning a monopoly in the market, the service seemed to be suspended for a recent couple of months due to its frequent maintenance and high operations cost, which remains as a similar situation for many parts of the world.
While talking to TimesNext about introducing the Leap Aeronautics services to the public at affordable pricing, the duo explained,
“Electric vehicle technology has been maturing all these years and will soon become mainstream. We want to apply electric propulsion technology to aviation, which will make the product safer, cheaper to operate & maintain (which is an operator’s nightmare today!), therefore making it affordable for the operators, and in turn will result in an affordable service for the mass market.”
While discussing the business model with carpool members about having an option to fly over traffic jams, the individuals often get excited and enthusiastic about the revolutionary solution to the traffic problems. Many developments in similar fields are being done in Europe and the US.
Challenges faced by Leap Aeronautics
“Good ideas are always crazy until they’re not”
– Larry Page, Google
The duo was prepared with their disruptive innovation but sadly did not get the support they expected. Even if some provided them with support, they were overshadowed with their ideologies to be ‘normal’ and often told them that they would not be able to gain investments as the project for Leap Aeronautics was over-ambitious and crazy at the same time. Initially, they also lacked back up from experienced Aerospace Engineering individuals.
“Many startup founders, industry experts have told us to shut the shop and get back to our regular jobs, but we are determined to push through. And we have made great progress over the last 10 months since the time we started working full time,”
they told TimesNext.
Leap Aeronautics – On Growth & Milestones
While talking to TimesNext, Anthony and Kashyap told us that the company made four different prototypes to test various aspects of design and technology and have conducted over 100 flight tests to date. The team is understanding the constraints and system behavior and is working on improving the model by testing the fourth 1:5 sub-scale prototype to extract data.
The team of 6 engineers is currently working tirelessly full-time since July of 2019. It has successfully developed in-house software design and analysis tools to accelerate our design process and make use of advanced methods like multi-disciplinary optimization very early on in the design cycle.
The startup considers its first milestone to be that of building and successfully flying its subscale prototypes despite facing several crashes and unexpected issues. The company aims at achieving its next milestone of the first flight of the full-scale prototype by Q4 2021.