This $200K Personal eVTOL From Chicago Wants to Become Your “Backyard Fighter Jet”

The dream of owning and piloting one's private aircraft has never been more accessible than now. The emerging eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) industry is giving birth to a new type of personal aircraft, one that is emissions-free, accessible both in terms of cost and legal requirements, and easy to store in a backyard.
The Spinner claims to be the best ultralight personal eVTOL 7 photos
Photo: Upwards Aero
The SpinnerThe SpinnerThe SpinnerThe Spinner Early DemonstratorThe SpinnerThe Spinner
One of these fascinating single-seat flying machines is called the Spinner, and it's coming from Chicago. Officially a personal electric aircraft, the Spinner boasts the main quality of eVTOLs, which is a mix of easy maneuvering (thanks to the vertical take-off and landing) and high performance (thanks to the fixed-wing design). Still, it's much more than that.

The Spinner makes a bold claim, aiming to become the highest-performance vehicle in its class. The main advantage that sets it apart from the rest is the thrust-to-weight ratio of a fighter jet, combined with the longest range of a personal eVTOL.

This personal jet can fly for 45 minutes with a maximum payload of 230 lb (104 kg). It's designed to cruise at 63 mph (101 kph) at a maximum altitude of 1,500 feet (457 meters). It needs two hours to recharge and, most importantly, doesn't require a pilot's license to be operated.

Classed as an ultra-light single-seater, this type of aircraft can be flown without a license, but not in busy urban centers or near airports. It's intended for what's known as recreation aviation only. This is mainly owed to the simple flight controls with a joystick and speed lever for easy transition from hover to cruise.

Still, the Chicago-based air mobility company Upwards Aero wanted to combine easy maneuvering with high performance. Although intended for recreational flights, the Spinner claims to be similar to a fighter jet. Its flight controls are said to be based on the same unified control system as the F-35B. It also boasts the same thrust-to-weight ratio.

Safety-wise, in addition to a ballistic parachute and redundant systems (features that most private eVTOLs have), the Spinner is capable of unpowered gliding. This means that even if its motors stop working, the aircraft won't fall but manage to glide. In fact, the Chicago startup claims that this is the only aircraft in its category (ultralight eVTOLs) with this specific capability.

The commercial version isn't ready to take off just yet, but the manufacturer hit a milestone recently with the first manned flight of a demonstrator. Keep in mind that this hexacopter is only a very early demonstrator. The final version of the Spinner will look much more attractive.

This personal aircraft, heralded by its manufacturer as "a fighter jet for your backyard," is already available for pre-order. The standard version will cost somewhere around $198,000, but you can make reservations for an early-delivery aircraft, with an estimated price of $178,200.

This is a limited edition of 100 units that will not only benefit from early delivery but also come with exterior and cockpit customization. One hundred units of the Founders Edition Spinners are up for grabs, with delivery starting in 2026.

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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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