Kittyhawk is to winding down its Flyer personal VTOL Project and focus all its efforts on its main eVTOL aircraft, Heaviside.
Flyer was designed to give individuals the ability to experience what it feels like to glide above the water. The single-seater vehicle was powered by 10 independent lift fans and operated between 3ft and 10ft off the water. Flyer travelled more than over 25,000 times.
President of Flyer, Alex Roetter, and Kittyhawk CEO Sebastian Thrun explained their decision in a blog post entitled ‘Our Next Chapter’, which was posted on the company’s website yesterday (Wednesday).
They wrote: “Today, we are winding down the Flyer project. We have learned what we needed from it — things like vehicle design and testing, manufacturing aircraft, and most of all, how humans would experience eVTOL.
“We are proud to have built the first electrically-powered VTOL aircraft in the world flown by non-pilots. Just as with our earlier Cora aircraft, Flyer is clearly a milestone in the history of Kittyhawk and eVTOL vehicles.
“Since Flyer began, more powerful eVTOL vehicles have been invented, such as our own Heaviside plane, which has a range of 100 miles, speeds of up to 180 mph, and the ability to fly over cities. Going forward, we are doubling down on Heaviside as our primary platform. But we would never have gotten here without launching and learning from Flyer, and the amazing team of people who built and operated it.
“We are incredibly proud of the Flyer team and what it has accomplished. Flyer stands out as one of our most ambitious bets. While the vehicles themselves will now retire, the Flyer legacy will live on as we continue on our quest to free the world from traffic!”
Kittyhawk has said the Heaviside is designed to be fast, small and exceedingly quiet – taking advantage of new possibilities to free people from traffic.
It is roughly 100 times quieter than a regular helicopter and the company has said it can travel from San Jose to San Francisco in 15 minutes, using less than half the energy of a car.
Click on the video below to watch a clip of the Heaviside eVTOL.