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Step Right Up To Buy Kitty Hawk’s One-Seat Flying Machine

(Source: www.forbes.com)

Courtesy of Kitty Hawk

Kitty Hawk, the Silicon Valley aviation startup backed by Google billionaire Larry Page, unveiled a new prototype Wednesday of the personal flying vehicle it’s been working on, and said it’s taking applications to buy the first production models.

More flying go-kart than flying car, the single-seat Flyer, powered by 10 electric rotors, isn’t going to get anyone too far, but it sure looks like fun. Kitty Hawk says flight time will be 12 to 20 minutes (battery capacity is a major limitation for the many electric aircraft under development at the moment), and the company is capping the height it can reach initially to 10 feet and the speed to 20 mph.

The look: halfway between a Star Wars speeder and a plastic easy chair on wings.

Courtesy of Kitty Hawk

Kitty Hawk, which is headed by former Google X chief Sebastian Thrun, says it will sound as loud as a lawnmower from 50 feet away, but it probably won’t lead to many noise complaints because the vehicle is designed to meet FAA’s  regulations for ultralight aircraft, which aren’t permitted to be flown over congested areas or open-air crowds.

Ultralights don’t require registration with the FAA or pilot certification; Kitty Hawk said it will encourage pilot training.

Want to buy it? Individuals can apply here. (The price and delivery date haven’t been announced.) The company is also taking applications for fleet operators — think amusement parks or resorts. The company told CNN reporters who were given a first look that it would prioritize working with fleet partners initially, the better to ensure safety.

Kitty Hawk is also working on developing an air taxi service with a two-seat autonomous electric aircraft dubbed Cora, which it revealed in March. Cora is being flight-tested in New Zealand.

The design of the Flyer has evolved since Kitty Hawk last shared a glimpse of a prototype in April 2017. Back then it it looked like a motorbike on torpedo-shaped pontoons, with downward facing rotors mounted below a spiderweb of struts and netting.

More Info: www.forbes.com

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