RotorX opens pre-orders on its kit-build ultralight personal eVTOL
Kit helicopter manufacturer RotorX has stepped into the personal eVTOL fray with its own take on the manned multicopter. The Dragon promises to zip you around at up to 63 mph (101 km/h), with joystick control, auto-landing, and a ballistic parachute.
This is very much in the bare-bones mold of the Jetson One and Ryse Recon; a big drone with the lightest possible seat/cabin in the middle. RotorX has gone with an eight-prop coaxial octacopter layout for some redundancy, running 16-kW electric motors for each prop. The company claims a max flight time around 20 minutes, which is pretty much in the ballpark, and it'll carry pilots that weigh 250 lb (113 kg) or less.
Safety-wise, RotorX is including a ballistic parachute in case you've got the cojones to fly high enough to make that kind of thing relevant – although I suspect most people will be more interested operating closer to the ground rather than a few hundred feet up. Much of the dream of flying these things seems to be about zooming through the treetops rather than way above them.
The Dragon runs simple joystick-style control, through redundant flight computers, and offers a "sensor-drive auto-landing system" as well as hands-free hover in place. The company says it qualifies as an ultralight, meaning you won't need a pilot's license to fly it.
Like the Jetson One, which shares this machine's top speed and endurance figures, the RotorX Dragon is a kit aircraft; it'll be shipped to you in bits with a tool kit to build it, and written and video instructions. Or, there'll be the option to go visit Advanced Tactics in California – a defense-focused VTOL developer led by RotorX president Don Shaw, working on a range of advanced air mobility designs including the fascinating RX eTransporter eVTOL. Dragon buyers will be able to assemble their aircraft at an Advanced Tactics facility under some supervision – and also get some training on how to fly it.
Price-wise, they'll sell for US$99,000 once deliveries begin in August 2023. RotorX is knocking that down to US$85,000 for anyone who's willing to slap down a US$19,500 deposit now for a pre-order.
You can see the prototype flying in the video below.