eVTOL developer SkyDrive has entered the final stages of testing its prototype aircraft, after completing the first-ever manned flight tests in Japan.

The Tokyo-based company – established by members of the Cartivator Group – first launched an unmanned outdoor flight test in December 2018 and conducted numerous technical verifications to confirm the controllability and flight stability of its test aircraft between December 2019 and March 2020. 

It has simultaneously unveiled leading aerospace engineer Nobuo Kishi as its Chief Technology Officer, who will lead the development and certification of the product to take it to market in 2023. This will involve feeding back improvements to technical design that were picked up during the manned operation of the aircraft. 

Mr Kishi has held top posts at Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation, and was Chief Engineer of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet – the first domestic jet-engine passenger plane.

He said: “Throughout my career spanning four decades, I have gained considerable experience and knowledge in type certification, safety verification, project management, and system integration. I will help SkyDrive develop the flying car and bring it to the market. 

“Together we will revolutionise the concept of air transport – benefiting both businesses and the lives of consumers. I would like to help take the industry forward by introducing a lean development process, while ensuring the same degree of safety as conventional aircraft, implementing advanced components, and employing innovative mass production processes learned from various industrial sectors.”

SkyDrive plans to launch a demo flight of its eVTOL aircraft later this year.