Zeva Aero, a Tacoma-based company looking to make vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicles for a single pilot, reached a major milestone as its full-scale aircraft completed its maiden untethered flight, the company said in its press release.
We have covered many electric VTOL (eVTOL) concepts in the past and covered their progress as well. While 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 a highly personalized basis, giving its users the freedom from aircraft pilots to chauffeur them around. A typical Zeva Zero user could lift from practically any parking lot in the city, negating the need for dedicated vertiports as well.
We covered Zeva in November last year when the company displayed its fully functional prototype and in just a matter of months, the company has grown from strength to strength and conducted its first untethered flight test. The uncrewed test consisted of four flights that involved controlled hovering, simulated taxiing at slow speeds, and vertical climb maneuvers conducted in a limited fashion, the press release said.
For those wondering, why this VTOL looks like a man-sized satellite dish. Once the aircraft completes its vertical climb, it is designed to go horizontal and use the limited drag created by the design to its advantage, and zoom past us at speeds up to 160 mph (257 kph). That, its proposed range is limited to just 50 miles (80 km), shows that it is meant for urban use only.
The company will conduct further hovering tests in the immediate future and move towards achieving transition flight soon after, the press release said. Later in spring this year, it will also begin accepting pre-orders for the Zero with a 5,000 dollars deposit. When it begins production, the Zero with its eight electric propeller design is expected to cost up to 250,000 dollars.
That is a comparatively steep hike over the 92,000 dollars Jetson One that is delivered in a flatpack and needs some assembly on your part. Besides, users would also probably want Zeva to get rid of the trolley wheels on the frame.