Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Kitty Hawk’s new “ultra-quiet” electric aircraft has a 100-mile range

Kitty Hawk, an American aviation startup, backed by Google co-founder Larry Page, has shown its third personal air transport project, Heaviside. The company has been working on it for nearly two years.

Heaviside, which is abbreviated to HVSD, is a single-seater, all-electric aircraft in black and orange with eight rotors, a wingspan of 20 feet (six meters), and a vertical take-off and landing system. It supports both manual control and unmanned mode. The device is named after the English physicist and engineer Oliver Heaviside.

The Heaviside follows in the footsteps of the Flyer, which emerged in 2017
The Heaviside follows in the footsteps of the Flyer, which emerged in 2017

The company positions Heaviside as an affordable, fast, small, and quiet aircraft, which is designed to go anywhere and land anywhere. What is more interesting about Heaviside is it is roughly 100 times quieter than a helicopter and can fly about 100 miles (161 kilometers) on a single charge. It is capable of traveling from San Jose to San Francisco (around 55 miles) in 15 minutes, said Kitty Hawk CEO Sebastian Trun and engineer Damon Vander Lind, who leads the project.

The creators of the project want to make the Heaviside air transport, which will be available not only to the rich but to a wide circle of people with a pilot’s license. Trun and Vander Lind also admit that some parts of the aircraft require refinement, for example, a cabin.

Trun doesn’t reveal technical specs around the aircraft’s battery and powertrain and the dates for commencement of the commercial operation of Heaviside. According to TechCrunch, Kitty Hawk has permission from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to test the aircraft as long as it stays within view of the company’s engineers and test crew on the ground.

Kitty Hawk showed its first prototype single-seat aircraft with vertical take-off and landing in 2017, a project called Flyer was finalized in the summer of 2018. In March 2018, the company introduced Cora, a two-seat unmanned aerial taxi. And in the summer of 2019, it agreed with Boeing on a partnership on urban air mobility, developing unmanned and piloted vehicles.