Aircraft

Video: Kitty Hawk demos its production-ready solo sport Flyer

Video: Kitty Hawk demos its pr...
With pontoon-shaped landing skids, the Flyer is clearly designed to be flown over water
With pontoon-shaped landing skids, the Flyer is clearly designed to be flown over water
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Kitty Hawk Flyer is currently limited to an altitude of 10 feet
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Kitty Hawk Flyer is currently limited to an altitude of 10 feet
The design looks production-ready, and Kitty Hawk seems to have several already built
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The design looks production-ready, and Kitty Hawk seems to have several already built
Solo multicopter flying fun is on the menu with the Kitty Hawk Flyer
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Solo multicopter flying fun is on the menu with the Kitty Hawk Flyer
10 props on a hash-shaped airframe
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10 props on a hash-shaped airframe
Kitty Hawk Flyer will offer up to 20 minutes of flight time per battery charge
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Kitty Hawk Flyer will offer up to 20 minutes of flight time per battery charge
Props look to be about 3 feet long
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Props look to be about 3 feet long
With pontoon-shaped landing skids, the Flyer is clearly designed to be flown over water
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With pontoon-shaped landing skids, the Flyer is clearly designed to be flown over water

Larry Page's Kitty Hawk startup has been beavering away on several different personal flight projects, including a self-piloting, electric VTOL air taxi that can be used for Uber Elevate-style aerial commuting. The Silicon Valley company has also been working on something sportier – a single-seat multicopter fun machine called the Flyer. And today, the team released images and partial specs on what looks to be the final production design.

It looks kind of like the pilot is sitting in a high-end basketball shoe in the sky, with two pontoon floats either side. The suggestion is clear: please fly this thing over water, where at least if you crash you've got a chance.

The Flyer runs 10 electric fans with no prop guards, each one looking roughly three feet (1 m) long, arranged across a hash-shaped airframe measuring 8 x 13 ft (2.4 x 3.9 m).

The design looks production-ready, and Kitty Hawk seems to have several already built
The design looks production-ready, and Kitty Hawk seems to have several already built

Flight time is somewhere around 12 to 20 minutes, depending on pilot weight and the speed you're flying at. In terms of safety, Kitty Hawk has currently decided to limit altitude to between 3 to 10 ft (0.9 to 3 m), and maximum speed to 20 mph (32 km/h).

The company says you can learn to fly it in "less than an hour," and fly it without a pilot's license as an ultralight aircraft, meaning you'll need to keep it away from populated areas.

Can you buy one? Yes. It's available for pre-order now at an undisclosed price, and only by invitation. But you can apply to get an invitation. Which makes it less of an invitation, really. The company also seems to be suggesting it'll make flights available as a leisure experience, which strikes us as a great solution, particularly if the guys in charge quietly keep a remote control on hand in case a pilot gets out of their depth.

Check out the Flyer in action in the video below.

Source: Kitty Hawk

Flyer by Kitty Hawk

7 comments
Lardo
Legal ultralight in the USA is 254 max pounds, empty. This thing looks a bit heavier than that.
Bernd Kohler
The next leg chopper, this time on the water. I do not understand why the props have to be in this low dangerouse position, or have an enclosure in some why with wire mesh (see hovercrafts). Besides I do not belief that the thing falls under the FAA Ultralight part 103 regulation (weight max. 155lb). So you need a pilot license. Other point, when one engine or prop fails I leaf the result to your imagination.
John Gochnauer
The weight limit is indeed 254#, "...excluding floats and safety devices which are intended for deployment in a potentially catastrophic situation...". https://www.eaa.org/en/eaa/aviation-communities-and-interests/ultralights-and-ultralight-aircraft/getting-started-in-ultralight-flying/about-faa-part-103-for-ultralights
RoGuE_StreaK
Bernd, 10 independent props/motors is plenty redundant; you could lose half of them and still manage a landing. Even a quadcopter (with the right flight controller programming) can lose one of it's four motors and still provide a semblance of controlled landing
Tom Lee Mullins
I think that is really cool.
Mivoyses
Looks cool. Doubt the weight is under FAA Part 103, and even so, I'd still like to see some sort of fan shroud for ground safety issues. If you worked it the right way you might even get more thrust.
ljaques
Um, why does this plane look like a trimaran boat?