Kitty Hawk begins testing Cora air taxi

13 March, 2018, 18:59 | Author: Regina Silva
  • Kitty Hawk begins testing Cora air taxi

Now, according to The New York Times, Kitty Hawk will on Tuesday announce it has reached an agreement with the government of New Zealand to test its aircraft in order to get officially certified for flying in the country.

The airtaxi can fly up to 110mph, and uses 12 rotor blades to take off and land vertically.

Dr Peter Crabtree of New Zealand's MBIE saw the opportunity immediately: "In New Zealand, we know we can't keep using the same old approaches to meet our future challenges". The idea is to make the flying taxi accessible to all, even those who don't have a pilot's license.

Kitty Hawk previously revealed its "Flyer" aircraft, which was more like a hovercraft crossed with a jet ski, and which it intends to sell to individuals in the recreational vehicle market. Like Uber, but for "The Jetsons". It can go 60 miles on a charge, at heights of up to 3,000 feet and speeds of 110 miles per hour. It has an 11-metre wingspan and operates a single propeller.

Kitty Hawk's vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft, called Cora, will have a range of around 62 miles to start. It's been testing the vehicles through a local operator called Zephyr Airworks, and Cora has an "experimental airworthiness certificate" from both New Zealand and United States aviation authorities.

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New Zealand is focused on becoming "net carbon zero" by the year 2050, which is why prime minister Jacinda Ardern embraced the emissions-free transportation project.

The report says Kitty Hawk is already working on a taxi-hailing app, and plans to run the entire operation itself. Mr Page brought in Google-X founder and self-driving auto expert Sebastian Thrun to act as CEO of Kitty Hawk and former Virgin America and Delta CEO Fred Reid to head up Zephyr.

"Designing an air taxi for everyday life means bringing the airport to you". Therefore, Cora has no need for a runway.

I've spoken to Thrun about the potential of flying "cars" in the past, and the former Google self-driving auto project pioneer is extremely bullish on the idea.

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