Zeva Aero, a Tacoma-based company that aims to build single-pilot vertical take-off & landing vehicles (VTOL), achieved a major milestone when its full-size aircraft completed its first untethered flight, the company said in its press release.
We have covered many electric VTOL (eVTOL) concepts and their advancements in the past. Although most are aimed to become air taxis, capable of moving people from point A to point B within or even between cities, Zeva’s Zero wants to offer this service on highly-personalized basis, giving its users the freedom from airplane pilots to drive them. A typical Zeva Zero user could lift from parctically any parking lot in town, also eliminating the need for dedicated vertiports.
We covered Zeva in November of last year when the company showed off its fully working prototype and within months the company went strong and ran its first untethered flight test. The unmanned test consisted of 4 controlled hover flights., simulated low-speed taxiing & vertical climb maneuvers, which performed on a limited basis, according to the press release.
For those wondering why this VTOL looks like a man sized satellite dish. Once the aircraft has completed its vertical climb, it is designed to fly horizontally, taking advantage of the limited drag created by the design & zoom past-us at speeds of up to 160 mph (257 km/h). That its proposed range is limited to just 50 miles (80 km) indicates that it is intended for urban use only.
According to the press release, the company will conduct more hover tests in the near future and will achieve transition flight soon after. It will also begin accepting pre-orders for the Zero with a $5,000 deposit later this spring. When production begins, the Zero, with its 8 electric propellers, is expected to cost up to $250,000.
That’s a comparatively steep-hike over $92,000 Jetson One, which delivered flat-packed and requires a bit of assembly on your part. Additionally, users would also probably want Zeva to get rid of trolley wheels on frame.