Zapata’s eVTOL flies like a drone with a hybrid engine

The AirScooter will be able to carry 260 pounds at a cruising speed of 50 mph.
Rizwan Choudhury
AirScooter render.
AirScooter render.

Credits: Zapata/YouTube 

In an age where electric vehicles are revolutionizing transportation, the domain of personal flight has taken a giant leap forward. Enter AirScooter, a brand-new invention that resembles an electric wasp, poised to become a true game-changer in the world of personal flying machines.

The AirScooter is more than just a concept. It's the latest brainchild of Franky Zapata, the French inventor and jetski champion known for his audacious attempts in personal aviation. If you've heard of the Flyboard Air, a jet platform that carried Zapata across the Channel in 2019 powered by kerosene, you're familiar with his impressive track record.

Design and Specifications

The AirScooter will be equipped with a hybrid engine powered by electricity and fuel, providing a flight time of up to two hours and a top speed of 62mph (100kph). Remarkably, it's designed to have the carbon footprint of an ordinary car.

Its appearance is visually striking, with six rotors extending from its body, forming a pinwheel style. Each rotor is equipped with twin sharp blades and is not enclosed, giving it a raw, futuristic look. The hybrid-electric propulsion system could promise a longer flight time than any other VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) in the market.

Inside its egg-shaped body, the AirScooter offers panoramic glass for scenic views, and the cushioned seat is equipped with safety belts. The two joysticks onboard, resembling those used in VR gaming, control the VTOL, making it feel like piloting a jetfighter video game.

Accessibility and Plans

One of the most interesting aspects of the AirScooter is its ease of control. It's meant to be controlled by two joysticks, somewhat like a video game, and there's an exciting possibility that you won't need a pilot's license to fly one. But let us not recall the tragic incident of OceanGate's Titan submersible that was similarly controlled via a handheld controller. Don't dream of adding it to your shopping cart just yet – the AirScooter is still in the planning stages, with only a display prototype.

Although there's a short video clip of the prototype standing still, Franky Zapata's team intends to sell flight training "experiences" at a center in Arizona instead of selling AirScooters directly to the public.

A step closer to personal flying

The idea of personal flying machines isn't new. The AirScooter isn't even the first invention to bear that name. But with Zapata's vision, experience, and cutting-edge technology, there's renewed hope that humans are inching closer to conquering the skies in their personal bubbles.

While full specs are yet to be disclosed, the eVTOL AirScooter's potential top speed of 62 mph (100 kph) with a cruise speed of 50 mph (80 kph) and a maximum payload of 260 pounds (120 kg) sets it apart. Dubbed compliant with Federal Aviation Authority Regulations, it can be flown without a pilot's license in the US as an ultralight aircraft.

Will the AirScooter take personal aviation to new heights? Only time will tell. In the evolving landscape of modern transportation, the AirScooter marks an exciting chapter, bringing us closer to realizing the age-old fantasy of personal flight.