Thursday, February 22, 2024

LIFT Aircraft completes first-ever piloted eVTOL demonstration flights in Japan

This week, Austin-based Lift Aircraft announced that it has completed the first-ever piloted eVTOL demonstration flights in Japan with its aircraft, HEXA. The aircraft successfully completed three flight patterns following a training session at the Osaka Castle Baseball Field.

The HEXA eVTOL aircraft was reviewed by the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB). The flights were conducted in partnership with Marubeni Corporation and with participation from GMO Internet Group.

The demonstration was selected for the Osaka Prefectural Government’s FY2022 Subsidy for Urban Business Creation Flying Car Projects and as a Candidate Demonstrator for Expo 2025, a project of the Japan Association for the 2025 World Exposition and the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Lift Aircraft’s HEXA is a one-person electrical vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft that features a distributed electric propulsion system with 18 motors and an ultra-light airframe. A triply redundant autopilot computer makes this eVTOL supposedly easy to fly.

“JCAB was thorough in their review of our safety standards and our aircraft and gave us the green light to fly,” said Matt Chasen, founder, and CEO of LIFT Aircraft. “It’s an honor that our aircraft was selected to be the first eVTOL ever piloted in Japan.”

LIFT has already worked with the U.S. Air Force to formally conclude Phase 1 flight test and beginner flight envelope development. While HEXA conforms to FAA Part 103 and can be flown in the U.S. today without aircraft type certification or a pilot’s license, Japan does not have an equivalent regulation. JCAB carefully reviewed the safety of the aircraft, the extensiveness and maturity of the test program, and the flight envelope and ultimately gave permission for the demonstrations to proceed.