A company called Kitty Hawk, partially funded by Google co-founder Larry Page, is now offering test flights for its first flying car, dubbed the “Flyer.” The flying car, or personal flying plane, is described by some as a cross between a drone, helicopter, and a stunt plane. A person’s head pokes out of the Flyer, so it looks like you’re sitting in a go-cart. It’s so easy to fly, that it reportedly only takes an hour to figure out how to operate it, and it’s just as easy as playing the game Minecraft, reported Yahoo News. Test flights are going to be made available to future customers and influencers, according to a spokeswoman.
“Our immediate priority is to invite small groups of people — customers, influencers, media and community members — to experience the freedom of flight here in our newly opened training facility.”
Test flights for first-time flyers are done over open bodies of water, and people aren’t allowed to go any faster than 20 miles per hour. Flight controls use a combination of sensors to ensure stability. There are no complicated controls or screens, but uses a joystick instead, reported CNN Money.
Engineer Todd Reichert impressed that one of the purposes of the Flyer is to make flying accessible to anyone, by taking “everything hard out of flying, basically to be able to give people an experience where it’s super-easy to fly.” Reichert isn’t new to working on new modes of transportation, as he once designed a helicopter using a bike frame. That vehicle broke a land-speed record, traveling at 89.59 miles per hour.
Larry Page-backed Kitty Hawk has unveiled its first commercial flying car, dubbed Flyer. CNNMoney's Rachel Crane is the first reporter to ever fly one — no pilot license required https://t.co/fV8JGlk4sS pic.twitter.com/IdHTgqdhdn
— CNNMoney (@CNNMoney) June 6, 2018
The 250-pound Flyer has 10 lift rotors on the wings, so it takes off into the air similar to a helicopter. It’s not very loud, either, as it sounds like a lawn mower from far away. And because the Flyer is so light, the company says that people won’t need a pilot’s license to fly them. However, FAA regulations make it illegal for people to use Flyers over people, or flying at night-time.
Some perspective on “flying car” development, comparing how Kitty Hawk’s Flyer evolved in one year:
2017 prototype | 2018 model
Time to train pilot: 3 days | 90 minutes
Propellers: 8 | 10
Weight: 220 lbs | 250 lbs
Test flights: 1,200 | 1,500 pic.twitter.com/LWu800osfl
— Matt McFarland (@mattmcfarland) June 6, 2018
If the rollout is successful, the Flyer could certainly revolutionize the transportation industry. And that’s exactly what the company is hoping for.
“We want to design something that’s truly useful, and that will improve the way people carry themselves around,” Reichert said.
Interested in owning your own flying car? The price for a Flyer is yet to be announced, but potential customers can apply for an invitation to purchase one, according to Digital Trends. First dibs are given to amusement parks and other partners looking for fleets of Flyers.