Illini Air Shuttle

The University has identified that Champaign’s displacement from a major metropolis, such as Chicago, will have an increasingly negative impact on its ability to provide the best education and research possible. To overcome this economic bottleneck, an idea to develop an air taxi for rapid transport between Chicago and Champaign has been proposed. The air taxi will be an electric VTOL aircraft that will transition into horizontal flight for cruising. The vehicle will hold at least 10 passengers and the total mission time will target one hour.


This RSO will focus initially on the design and development of a small-scale prototype using current technologies, with hopes of eventually transitioning into the development of a full-scale prototype and working aircraft. We’ll work in tandem with Professor Haran’s research group who will be developing key technology enablers, such high specific power machines for aircraft propulsion. The research team provides expertise from their work on multiple commercial-size electric aircraft projects such as NASA’s liquid hydrogen, fuel cell powered aircraft concept (CHEETA).


We’re looking for motivated, high-achieving upperclassmen majoring in engineering with backgrounds from one of several fields, such as controls, electric machines, aerodynamics, power electronics, power systems, and algorithms.

Our RSO webpage is: