The US Air Force Is Eyeing One of the Most Famous Personal eVTOLs

Eight Helix eVTOLs are participating in Agility Prime 7 photos
Photo: Pivotal
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What became known to the public as Opener's Blackfly is now Pivotal's Helix aircraft. It was one of the eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) pioneers and one of the most intriguing personal electric aircraft concepts. Today, it's not only gearing up for the first deliveries in just a few months but also kicking off an evaluation process with the US Air Force (USAF).
AFWERX Agility Prime has been linked to several eVTOL makers as the military's initiative for supporting this innovative technology. One of the latest of these aircraft to be eyed for an evaluation process by USAF is Pivotal's Helix, previously known as BlackFly.

Eight BlackFlys are set to participate in this evaluation program that will unfold at two locations - New Braunfels National Airport in Texas and the National Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence at Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport in Ohio.

Four of them have already been delivered, and they'll be joined by two flight simulators as well. After AFWERX and MTSI (Modern Technology Solutions, Inc.) selected Helix for Agility Prime, the California-based Pivotal committed to providing USAF with eight aircraft units, two flight simulators, as well as support services and pilot training.

BlackFly was designed for private use and is currently being commercialized as a personal eVTOL. Compared to eVTOLs that were designed to operate as air taxis, these electric aircraft with just one or two seats have different potential benefits when it comes to military operations. An aircraft like the BlackFly/Helix could be useful in surveillance, emergency response, and special operations. According to the AFWERX Agility Prime branch chief, Lt Col John Tekell, cost-effectiveness compared to conventional helicopters is one of the main selling points.

These eight Pivotal aircraft now have eight months of intensive testing ahead. In the end, the USAF will decide whether the potential for military use is worth investing further.

In the meantime, the aircraft is already up for grabs for the general public. Like all eVTOLs intended for private use, Helix doesn't require a pilot license. There are a few basic requirements related to both the location and the personal data (height and weight) of the future owners, which must be met prior to ordering the aircraft. Once that's out the way, the manufacturer will schedule the customer for a training session at its customer center in Palo Alto, California.

Pricing starts at $190,000 with a non-refundable $250 order fee and a $50,000 deposit. Those who want to take things to the next level can even customize their Helix aircraft with a 4K camera and a premium flight deck, among others.

The first Helix personal aircraft are set to be delivered to their owners in just a few months, starting June 10.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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