09 / 2017

FIRST SKETCH

Zuri started as a visual sketch. First drawn by the company founder, Michal Illich, with some crayons borrowed from his kids. Later redrawn by a professional aerospace designer to the form you see here.

05 / 2018

FIRST MODEL

To prove the basic idea, we built a small model with a two-meter wingspan. This was used to test the flight characteristics. Building a model using common hobby components allowed for cheap experimenting and rapid progress.

08 / 2018

PROOF OF CONCEPT

Next, we wanted to test the scalability of our concept. We hired an airplane designer to create a five-meter prototype. We tested it first in horizontal mode, as an airplane. Then we added the vertical takeoff and landing system and tested the aircraft in hover mode. This model is our first unmanned aircraft registered with the local CAA authorities.

10 / 2018

PALE FIRE CAPITAL FUNDING

After proving that the idea has wings, we approached Jan Barta of the PFC investment fund to consult about a fundraising strategy. He liked Zuri so much that he decided to invest €600k of the Pale Fire Capital money in the company as a convertible note.

01 / 2019

GROWING OUR TEAM

With the basic funding secured, we started to grow our team. From 6 in the autumn of 2018 we grew to 15 by the summer of 2019. Professional aerospace engineers, aerodynamics experts, software developers and other specialists joined Zuri on its mission.

03 / 2019

KIWI AS A STRATEGIC PARTNER

We joined forces with Kiwi.com, a very successful Czech startup, which sells airline tickets. Kiwi.com invested €200k and is helping us with their thorough knowledge of the air travel industry.

05 / 2019

TESTING

Things are getting serious. We are already testing components to be used in our one-seater prototype. Choosing the right electromotors, controllers and batteries is crucial for the success of our demonstrator.

09 / 2019

AERODYNAMIC TESTING

The first year we used computational fluid dynamics (CFD), a computer simulation of aerodynamics. Then, in the summer of 2019, we 3D-printed a model and verified the aerodynamics in a wind tunnel at the Czech Aerospace Research Centre.

NOW

BUILDING DEMONSTRATOR

Currently, we are building our first experimental aircraft. It will be the first to be used as a “flying wing,” an unmanned aerial vehicle for testing all the components in hover mode. In the second phase, it will be upgraded to a full single-seater airplane.