Aircraft

Full-scale Air One eVTOL prototype unveiled at the Kentucky Derby

Full-scale Air One eVTOL proto...
Air unveiled the full-size prototype of its One personal eVTOL at this year's Kentucky Derby
Air unveiled the full-size prototype of its One personal eVTOL at this year's Kentucky Derby
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Air unveiled the full-size prototype of its One personal eVTOL at this year's Kentucky Derby
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Air unveiled the full-size prototype of its One personal eVTOL at this year's Kentucky Derby
Interior of a full-scale prototype
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Interior of a full-scale prototype
The prototype was displayed in a somewhat less than salubrious shed at the historic horse race
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The prototype was displayed in a somewhat less than salubrious shed at the historic horse race
The prototype under construction
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The prototype under construction
This "sportscar of the sky" will be extremely easy to fly
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This "sportscar of the sky" will be extremely easy to fly
A US$150,000 personal aircraft for anyone that can afford it
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A US$150,000 personal aircraft for anyone that can afford it
You bet they'll make you a pink one
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You bet they'll make you a pink one
View gallery - 7 images

An interesting intersection between the future and past of human mobility this weekend, as Israeli company Air chose the Kentucky Derby to debut the full-size prototype of its Air One, a two-seat, buy 'n' fly personal eVTOL aircraft focused on fun.

The Air One, as we discussed last October, is a smart-looking coaxial octacopter seating two side by side under a panoramic glass cabin. Its eight electric motors can deliver a peak of 771 horsepower (575 kW) to its medium-diameter, three-blade props, giving it a maximum payload of 441 lb (200 kg).

Despite its conspicuous wings, the One has no dedicated cruise mode per se; there's no forward propulsion in evidence, and indeed the wings are tilted at an angle that'll allow them to generate lift with the aircraft tilted forward. This keeps the flight dynamics relatively simple – pilots should only require around 16 hours of training – and the price relatively cheap.

Speed suffers a little as a result; Air says this thing will cruise at 100 mph (161 km/h) with a max speed of 155 mph (250 km/h). However, the claimed range and endurance are very impressive for a manned multicopter – Air claims an hour of flight time, and a range up to 110 miles (177 km), with rapid charging enabling 0-100 percent top-ups in just one hour.

The prototype was displayed in a somewhat less than salubrious shed at the historic horse race
The prototype was displayed in a somewhat less than salubrious shed at the historic horse race

Having flown a number of prototypes up to 60 percent scale, Air has now sent a full-size prototype out to the USA, with another being built in Tel Aviv that's set to begin flight testing in the coming months. The company's timeline suggests it'll begin manned flight tests in Q3 this year, ahead of a "certification prototype" in 2023 and the first customer deliveries in 2024.

Yes, customer deliveries. Air isn't pitching this as a commercial air taxi, it's offering the One as a personal pleasure machine that can roll in and out of a garage with its wheels and fold-back wings, or roll around on a trailer if you don't have a property you can launch from directly. Conceived as a "sportscar of the sky," you can put down a pre-order for well under the price of the cheapest new Ferrari.

A US$150,000 personal aircraft for anyone that can afford it
A US$150,000 personal aircraft for anyone that can afford it

Indeed, if you'd put eleven bucks on the trifecta for this year's Derby and got lucky, you could've slapped down US$150,000 for this cheeky little aircraft and still have a spare US$13,577.70 to blow on mint juleps and the associated dry cleaning costs.

Air will be taking this prototype to a number of events around the United States, and in between engagements, it'll sit in Aerauto's showroom at Witham Field Airport in Florida, where the team will be happy to sell you one in person.

Check it out in the video below.

Behind the Scenes with AIR

Source: Air eVTOL

View gallery - 7 images
9 comments
9 comments
MQ
Needs to transition to horizontal flight - rotate the front pods (or did Loz and I miss that), or it is just a boodoggle for regulators to categorize as a dangerous toy.
Robt
@ MQ The props don’t need to rotate to provide forward thrust…
Look at any multicopter
guzmanchinky
Love the look of this! I can afford one, but I'm waiting for about double that range. It's coming someday soon.
TedTheJackal
Revell or Monogram? I'm with the horse on this.
ljaques
Gorgeous! I want the red one, please.
ljaques
In that first picture, Mr. Ed has just received his own EVTOL in his private pasture.
Lamar Havard
MQ is right, having to tilt forward to gain airspeed is a waste of energy, due to greatly increased drag. Make the rotors tilt, instead of the plane, and you'll have something.

guzmanchinky - When, and if, the 'nuclear/diamond' battery is marketed, you can fly for 28,000 years before your distant relative has to recharge it! 😄
Grunchy
I can't see there's any good "failsafe" on this. Even a helicopter can usually manage to get down utilizing the principle of "auto-rotate."
I dunno. My experience with quad-copter type of devices is they always crash catastrophically (and almost always on the very first flight!), even though the toy itself may not be irreparably damaged...
Arcticshade
@Grunchy
Fail nr one: You clearly still have a lot to learn wrt multicopters. Start with the basics.

Fail nr2 says it all you are playing with toys ;)

This is real life passenger carrying rated machines in case you havent realized ;)

Helicopters often FAIL in fail safe landings with botched autorotations, all over NTSB statistics.

Multicopters is superior in terms if reliability and redundency THATS why they will be far more safer than helicopters.