AIR, an Israeli electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) development company, announced that its inaugural vehicle, AIR ONE, has successfully completed its first full forward flight, perfectly transitioning from hover to cruise.
During the event, which took place on December 18, AIR’s full-scale AIR ONE prototype, loaded to a full capacity of 1100kg (2425 lbs), took off and transitioned to its nominal cruising speed. This landmark accomplishment kicks off thousands of flight hours planned for the AIR ONE as part of its FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) certification process.
AAM (Urban Air Mobility) turned out to be one of the most tempting transportation sectors for young companies. While much of the emerging AAM market focuses on commercial applications such as air taxis, AIR is spearheading a new category in the industry: personal air mobility. Back in May, the Israeli startup officially revealed its AIR ONE winged multicopter at the Kentucky Derby, and just a couple of months later, it began flight testing a full-scale prototype.
AIR’s unique eVTOL for personal use offers an everyday alternative for short-distance commuting in the sky. The AIR ONE is powered by eight electric motors and uses eight pairs of rotors to fly at a max speed of 155 mph (249 km/h). The all-electric two-seater aircraft offers a practical long range of 110 miles (177 km) on a single charge. In addition, it can be stored in most garages and driveways and is suitable for trailer hauls.
“It is thrilling to have reached this moment in our journey as we strive to build the foundation to make personal air mobility a reality,” said Rani Plaut, CEO, and co-founder of AIR. “AIR is incredibly proud to play a role in the global AAM movement, and we’re looking forward and upward to 2024 when adoption of privately-owned eVTOLs takes flight.”
AIR is now planning to transfer the bulk of its operations and R&D to the United States, where further flight testing, development, and ongoing certification collaboration with the FAA will continue. The AIR ONE is currently up for pre-order for a base price of US$150,000, and 260 of these babies have already been ordered, according to AIR. The company is looking forward and upward to 2024 when the adoption of privately-owned eVTOLs takes flight.