Bad news for flying car fans, as Kitty Hawk has announced it is shutting down its Flyer project.
First launched in 2015, the Flyer project was Kitty Hawk’s attempt to build a flying car. The company made quite a bit of headway, building and flying some 111 individual craft. Over 75 people flew the Flyer and the company logged some 25,000 successful flights. Even more impressive, the Flyer came in at a mere 250lbs empty, putting it in the ultra lightweight class that doesn’t require a license.
In spite of the project’s success, Kitty Hawk has decided to end it.
“Today, we are winding down the Flyer project,” write Alex Roetter, President of Flyer and Sebastian Thrun, CEO, on a company blog post. “We have learned what we needed from it — things like vehicle design and testing, manufacturing aircraft, and most of all, how humans would experience eVTOL. We are proud to have built the first electrically-powered VTOL aircraft in the world flown by non-pilots. Just as with our earlier Cora aircraft, Flyer is clearly a milestone in the history of Kitty Hawk and eVTOL vehicles.”
It appears the company will put all of its efforts toward its Heaviside plane, a high-performance electric VTOL vehicle that is up to 100 times quieter than a helicopter.
“Since Flyer began, more powerful eVTOL vehicles have been invented, such as our own Heaviside plane, which has a range of 100 miles, speeds of up to 180 mph, and the ability to fly over cities,” continues the blog post. “Going forward, we are doubling down on Heaviside as our primary platform. But we would never have gotten here without launching and learning from Flyer, and the amazing team of people who built and operated it.
“We are incredibly proud of the Flyer team and what it has accomplished. Flyer stands out as one of our most ambitious bets. While the vehicles themselves will now retire, the Flyer legacy will live on as we continue on our quest to free the world from traffic!”
Hopefully the company can make a success of the Heaviside, as it looks like an innovative take on aerial travel.