Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Mountain View, CA, United States (4E) – “Kitty Hawk Flyer,” a piloted electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) boat, is now on sale with the first deliveries expected next year.
Flyer is Kitty Hawk Corporation’s first personal flying vehicle and the first step in its ambition to make flying part of everyday life. The sleek aircraft that sits only one person is powered by 10 electrically-driven propellers and can fly at up to 20 mph three meters (10 feet) above the water for about 20 minutes. Kitty Hawk Corporation (https://flyer.aero/) claims a novice can learn to fly this aircraft in about 90 minutes or less. Kitty Hawk said its mission is to free people from traffic.
“In less than an hour, you can learn to fly,” claims Kitty Hawk CEO Sebastian Thrun.
Flyer is equipped with pontoons since it’s designed to take-off and land on water. Three propellers lie atop each pontoon with a propeller located on each of two arms extending outwards from the pontoons.
FAA rules restrict Flyer to uncontrolled airspace (or remote areas away from people and planes) and places without people on the ground. Flyer is classified as an ultralight by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which means it can only be flown for recreational purposes over water and uncongested areas. This classification means the pilot doesn’t need a pilot’s license from the FAA to fly the eVTOL.
Kitty Hawk employees conducted more than 1,000 test flights over Nevada’s Lake Las Vegas. Thrun sees flying cars as a solution to urban traffic jams.
“For people who live in a congested area, it could be a fundamental game changer,” said Thrun. “Having said this, this is a distant vision. Flyer is not intended to do this. Flyer is intended to be a very, very first vehicle that will let normal people without a pilot license experience safely the beauty of flight.”
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