Autonomous Vehicles Kitty Hawk Flyer

Published on April 29th, 2017 | by Nicolas Zart

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Kitty Hawk Flyer (Backed By Google’s Larry Page) Takes Flight

April 29th, 2017 by  

Kitty Hawk FlyerAnd another vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft takes to the sky, this one being Silicon Valley’s much lauded Kitty Hawk, which is backed by Google’s Larry Page.

But this VTOL likes to tag along the “flying car” moniker despite being a water-borne aircraft only.

Silicon Valley’s Kitty Hawk Flyer

This VTOL differs from the others we’ve covered on CleanTechnica. Although Kitty Hawk considers itself to be a “flying car” company, this VTOL is less flying car, more human-sized drone shaped for water use only.

We already reported on Google’s Larry Page backing this rotor-based flying car, as well as Zee.Aero. This electric personal flying aircraft is simply called the Kitty Hawk Flyer. The good news is that it’s rated as an ultralight aircraft by the FAA (FAR 103 Ultralight Category), meaning no pilot license is required to operate it.

Sitting on top of two generous cigar-shaped pontoons, much like water-landing helicopters use, the Kitty Hawk uses two rotors on all four sides of the aircraft, with a total of eight. Using the same design as modern drones, think of the Kitty Hawk Flyer one as a personal aircraft, where the pilot sits on top of it using a joystick to operate its flight maneuvers. But sitting on top of a drone also means sitting on top of propellers, not a particularly reassuring idea. So the Kitty Hawk Flyer has a net over the propellers, should you topple.

Technically Speaking, The Kitty Hawk Flyer

There isn’t a whole lot of information yet on the Kitty Hawk Flyer. It uses an eight-rotor configuration and can be operated without a pilot’s license, but for recreational purposes and water use only. So, no city flying — sorry folks. I can see problems with personal water jet craft, Seadoos, and Waverunners will begin soon enough. The Flyer can reach speeds of up to 25 mph (40 km/h) and … that’s it.

The Kitty Hawk Flyer Price

Although the Kitty Hawk hasn’t finalized a price yet, the company came up with a creative $100 three-year membership idea. What this does is that it gives you a priority on the waiting list, company gear, flight simulator, as well as other invitations to various events. Perhaps best of all, it gives you a $2,000 discount off the final price. We assume this probably places this Kitty Hawk Flyer at around $5,000 to $10,000, ideally.

If you live outside the US, Kitty Hawk says there are no plans to ship the vehicle outside the US. Sorry, Canada. However, rejoice if you live here, as commercial production is expected by the end of this year (2017).

Final Thoughts On The Kitty Hawk Flyer

The video above is much more polished than a rough test flight, but it gives us an overall idea of what to expect from the Kitty Hawk Flyer. The company says that the final look will be different than what was shown here with a different design. Personally, I feel it’s a good start to gear the Kitty Hawk Flyer towards the recreation industry until it can hopefully develop enough to take us over land and ideally in a more urban setting.


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About the Author

Born and raised around classic cars of the 1920s, it wasn't until Nicolas drove one of the first Tesla Roadsters that the light went on. Eager to spread the news about those amazing full torque electric vehicles, he started writing in 2007. Since then, his passion led to cover renewable energy, test drive many cars, do podcasts and film everything that is new and efficient. Nicolas offers an in-depth look at the e-mobility world through interviews and the many contacts he made in those industries. "There are more solutions than obstacles." Nicolas Zart



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