One day, the future of aviation will be the electric vertical and take-off aircrafts! This is a journey of thought that started over a decade back when the idea of flying cars was in its total frenzy. Manufacturers around the world have since deviated a little, and come up with various concepts/prototypes of eVTOLs aircrafts, with the idea of making short-distance aviation much quieter, with fewer emissions, and potentially safer than helicopters and other forms of flying crafts.
The main reason for the eVTOL lagging behind and not making it into mass production is essentially because of the demands of the Federal Aviation Administration in America. But that hasn’t stopped companies from working through time to prove to regulators that VTOL aircrafts can operate safely. Seems, the reasoning has met sane ears, and the first eVTOL, dubbed Helix, is now at CES 2024, and all set to be produced in larger volumes and shipped starting June 10.
The lightweight electric VTOL aircraft has been in the works by Palo Alto, California-based company Pivotal for over a decade. After numerous phases, the final aircraft is ready to take-off and land vertically without needing a runway or a pilot’s license to go airborne.
The Pivotal Helix, with fixed rotors and tandem wings, is a single-seat aircraft that can be flown without an FAA pilot certification, but the manufacturing company requires prospective fliers to go through hours of simulator and training sessions to fly the 348-pound eVTOL craft in the USA. Before you intend to shell out your savings to be the first Pivotal customer; you must be 18 years and above, have a body weight of fewer than 220 pounds, and you shouldn’t measure more than 6.5 feet tall, else you may not fulfill the company’s buyer requirement for the Helix.
Even though a pilot’s license is not necessary to fly the eVTOL, FAA requires the aircraft to be flown only above non-congested areas and at a considerable distance from airports. There is no other additional requirement as to why you cannot fly the Helix once it becomes available (and you have close to $200K odd to spare).
To make flying easy, the Pivotal Helix features a wide-angle view from the cockpit, and thriving on the electric engine, it guarantees silent operation. The battery renders 20 miles of range to the Helix, which can charge 100 percent in about 75 minutes using a 240V charger.
Helix scheduled for June, will come in three configurations. The base model with a white carbon fiber exterior, a digital flight panel, and an HD camera for landing will start at $190,000. The model with gloss white and striped carbon fiber exterior, 4K camera with landing assist will set you back $240,000, while the third model with a premium flight deck, customizable interior and exterior will cost $260,000. The first production lightweight eVTOL aircraft in the US can now be pre-ordered via $250 nonrefundable application fee, and a $50,000 booking deposit.