MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. Kitty Hawk, an aircraft manufacturing startup in Mountain View, California, has unveiled its Flyer all-electric, one-person, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft constructed of composite material, powered and propelled by 10 independent-lift fans, and promoted as a recreational vehicle, but could later be used for personal transport in urban environments.
The aerospace company is led by Todd Reichert, a Sikorsky prize winner and Guinness world record holder, and an engineering team that has spent countless hours meticulously designing, building and testing Kitty Hawk’s first personal flying vehicle, officials say. Google Co-founder and CEO Larry Page is among the top investors backing Kitty Hawk. Cameron Robertson and Reichert are previously known for their work on the Sikorsky prize-winning AeroVelo human-powered helicopter.
The all-electric Flyer aircraft is undergoing public testing and is now available for pre-order. Operators don’t require a pilot’s license, but do need to undergo a one-hour training course to fly the aircraft, controlled by a joystick in the cockpit.
The Flyer is currently capable of flying at speeds up to 6 miles per hour (mph), but Reichert anticipates the craft will one day be capable of double-digit speeds reaching between 50 and 100 mph.
Company Name: Kitty Hawk Corporation
Headquarters: Mountain View, California
Kitty Hawk CEO: Sebastian Thrun
Product Name: Flyer
Type of Machine: Personal aircraft
Capacity: Designed for one participant
Height Limit: Operates between 3-10 ft off the surface of water
Wingspan: 8’ x 13’
Vertical take-off and landing: Powered by 10 independent lift fans
Battery Life: Battery life will depend on participant weight, environmental factors, and forward speed.
Flight time: 12-20 minutes (at 20 mph)
Regulation: Part 103 Ultralight