It was back in June that we first heard about Workhorse's SureFly, a carbon fiber-bodied octocopter designed to carry two people. Well, if everything works out, it will be making its first manned flight on Jan. 8th in Las Vegas, ahead of the CES trade show where it will be on static display.
Billed as being "the world's first personal electric hybrid octocopter," the 1,100-lb (499-kg) SureFly has four propeller arms with two fixed contra-rotating propellers on each one, along with a gas combustion engine that generates electricity to run the eight electric motors. There are also two lithium battery packs that can take over in case the engine fails, plus the final version should be equipped with an emergency parachute.
It has a claimed top speed of 70 mph (113 km/h), and an estimated range of 70 miles with a pilot and passenger. Plans call for early versions of the aircraft to be pilot-operated via a joystick-type controller, with future models being capable of autonomous flight and payloads of up to 400 lb (181 kg).
The Jan. 8th date is subject to variables such as weather, regulatory approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, and from local municipalities. Workhorse is ultimately aiming for full certification by late 2019, and a price tag of around US$200,000.
"The response to SureFly's public displays has been enthusiastic, and while we have much work ahead of us in our march toward certification, this first test flight represents a significant milestone for the project," says CEO Stephen Burns.
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