A one-person aircraft powered by lithium polymer batteries is designed to be flown over water and non-congested areas.
Many companies are now working on creating the world’s first mass-market flying car. The race to reveal the first fuel-free aircraft is on, with many big competitors putting prototypes forward. Now personal aviation company Kitty Hawk, backed by Google co-founder Larry King, have thrown their hat into the ring with the unveiling of Flyer.
Flyer’s design makes it easy to fly for recreational purposes over water and non-congested areas. Maintaining an altitude of 3 metres and a speed of 20 miles per hour for new riders, Flyer’s creators hope to help more people experience the freedom of flying. The electric aircraft created an internet buzz, in part thanks to YouTuber Casey Neistat. Earlier this year Kitty Hawk announced that its autonomous passenger-drone was ready to begin the regulatory approval process in New Zealand.
Flyer creates thrust through all-electric motors that are significantly quieter than any fossil fuel equivalent. When Flyer is in the air, it will sound like a lawnmower at 50 feet or a loud conversation at 250 feet. The aircraft has a wingspan of 13 metres and is powered by 10 independent lift fans for vertical take off and landing. The Federal Aviation Administration does not require aircraft registration or pilot certification to pilot Flyer. However, flight training is highly encouraged. Ultralights may only be flown over non-congested areas. Battery life depends on participant weight, environmental factors, and forward speed, but lasts roughly 12-20 minutes at 20 miles per hour.
Springwise has previously followed other attempts at bringing electric power to the aviation industry. There is already a hybrid helicopter that uses a gas combustion engine to generate electricity. Impacting the larger commercial aviation industry, UK budget airline easyJet has pledged to develop a battery-propelled aircraft capable of flights under two hours within the next decade.