A London-based startup SkyFLy has opened pre-orders on its two-seat personal eVTOL aircraft, called the Axe. The company expects to start customer deliveries in 2024.
The SkyFLy Axe is capable of vertical flight but has wings, and uniquely its design does not require rotating engines or rotating wings – instead, the motors are at fixed-angle, saving weight and complexity and improving safety and strength. The two pairs of compact wings give the Axe a longer range than its competitors, allow glide landings for greater safety and even enable an energy-saving, standard fixed-wing aircraft take-off, and landing where a conventional runway is available.
The wings measure 16.4 feet across and have a 4.9-foot diameter propeller at each end. It has two 70 kW motors for each prop. The aircraft has high speeds of 100 mph (160 km/h) and a range of up to 200 miles (320 km).
The Axe weighs 428 kg with a 48 kWh battery pack on board and is capable of lifting cargo or people weighing no more than 172 kg and traveling up to 100 miles (160 km) in flight on battery power. The air taxi also has a hybrid option, which uses a smaller battery pack alongside a range-extending generator if you need to travel farther. The hybrid unit will increase endurance by up to 2 hours, providing 50kw of continuous power with only a 55kg all-up weight penalty. Its maximum take-off weight has been increased to 600 kg, and the maximum thrust is quoted at 700 kg.
The aircraft’s minimal cabin has two seats, positioned side by side. The aircraft can take off and land vertically, but if you want to take off like an airplane, it only needs a 164 ft (50 meters) long runway, SkyFLy says.
SkyFLy is currently taking reservations for the Axe on its website, and the first customers will begin to get their eVTOLs in the summer of 2024. The aircraft has a base price of approximately £150,000 (about $173,000). Several add-ons are available, too, like the range-extender generator ($58,300) and ballistic parachute on board ($23,300). You will need a standard fixed-wing pilot’s license to fly the Axe because it can fly like one until eVTOL-specific licenses start to appear.