Vertical Takeoff And Landing. That’s a fantasy people who fly aircraft have had for generations — a plane that can rise and descend vertically with no need for a runway, then transition to normal flight once airborne. It’s the concept that led to the helicopter, a device originally envisioned by Leonardo
DiCaprio DaVinci in the fifteenth century. Now the Jetson ONE personal eVTOL is here. A picture is worth a thousand words, but a video says it all, so let’s get right to it.
Jetson Aero is a Swedish company founded in 2017 by Peter Ternström and Tomasz Patan. “We intend to make everyone a pilot,” the company says on its website. “We aim to make the skies available for everyone with our safe personal electric aerial vehicle. The Jetson ONE is a commercially available personal electric aerial vehicle that you can own and fly.”
Indeed. For the sum of just $92,000, anyone can order a Jetson ONE. The company says it will build and deliver 12 of them this year and expects to double production in 2023. Not everyone will be first on the waiting list, however. “Like it or not, the first group of owners are going to be ambassadors for the product. So, we’re looking for established members of a community, preferably with a pilot’s license,” Ternström tells the Robb Report.
He calls the Jetson ONE “a personal electric aerial vehicle.” It is not intended for commercial service or flying long distances. Its expected operating window is 15 to 30 feet off the ground. “We just want to have fun,” Ternström says. “We’re happy to let the big guys solve the big problems. We can teach you to fly our aircraft in five minutes. It’s like a jet ski or a scooter that flies.” The first official public flight will be hosted by Prince Albert II of Monaco on June 8.
The craft closely resembles the land speeders featured in the Star Wars movies. “Remember the scene in Return of the Jedi when they’re zipping through the forest on those hovercraft?” Ternström asks. “That’s what the ONE can replicate. People are going to want that land speeder experience.”
The Jetson ONE weighs 190 pounds, including its lithium-ion battery. Maximum capacity is 210 pounds. It has four motors — two in front and two in back — driving two rotors each, and it can fly even if one motor fails. The controls utilize fly-by-wire aeronautics. Other safety features include an aluminum frame with crumple zones derived from race car technology, a rapid opening ballistic parachute, and a lidar system that helps the operator avoid obstacles either on the ground or in the air. The Jetson ONE can auto-hover with no input from the operator. Range is 20 miles.
Notice we use the word “operator” instead of “pilot.” That’s because, with a maximum speed of 63 mph (100 km/h), the Jetson ONE is considered an ultralight by US aviation authorities, which means a pilot’s license is not required to fly it in the United States. (A pilot’s license may be required in other countries, however.) At $92,000, does Jetson Aero (yes, it’s named after that 60s TV show) think there will be a demand for their eVTOL? Oh, yeah.