Air One personal eVTOL successfully transitions from hover to cruise
Hot on the heels of Lilium's Phoenix 2 demonstrator, Israel's Air has released video footage of its two-seat personal eVTOL prototype transitioning to cruise flight, marking the start of the company's bid for FAA certification.
Destined for personal ownership for short hops across town rather than the upcoming air taxi market, the Air One features eight props for lift and tilts forward to cruise with the help of angular wings. It seats two side-by-side via funky flip-top access. Top speed is reported to be 155 mph (250 km/h) though it's expected to cruise at around 100 mph, and the company reckons that a one-hour charge of its battery bank should be good for up to 110 miles (177 km).
For the latest milestone, Air packed the unmanned prototype to its full capacity of 2,425 lb (1,100 kg) to meet the requirements of the certification program. The props were fired up, the nose left the ground to level out the aircraft and then the Air One slowly headed skyward – inching forward as it climbed and tilting for forward flight.
"It is thrilling to have reached this moment in our journey as we strive to build the foundation to make personal air mobility a reality," said Air's CEO and co-founder, Rani Plaut. "Air is incredibly proud to play a role in the global AAM movement, and we're looking forward and upward to 2024 when adoption of privately-owned eVTOLs takes flight."
The majority of the company's operations will now be transferred to the US, with a focus on conducting further flight tests for range, speed and endurance, as well as optimization of the aircraft's design, as Air works with the FAA towards certification.
The Air One is currently up for pre-order for a base price of US$150,000, with more than 260 customers already laying down deposits. Assuming the flight path to certification runs smoothly, the first Air One will start shipping some time in 2024.