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USAF to Start Operating Single-Seat Amphibious Aircraft With an Open Cockpit

The U.S. military just moved one step closer to operating “personal jets” – this single-pilot eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) is so light and easy to maneuver that it can be flown by anyone, anytime.
Hexa is not highly sophisticated, but versatile and easy to maneuver 7 photos
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The Army is interested in adding a capability that had not been available before – a type of air transportation that doesn’t cost more than ground transportation and that can be deployed fast, with only a few hours of training required for the future pilots. In fact, any service member could easily become a pilot for this unusual “flying car” that would provide support for emergency first response, search and rescue missions, plus personnel transportation.

Unlike other eVTOLs that have gained the U.S. Air Force’s attention due to being highly sophisticated and innovative, HEXA was designed as a leisure aircraft that would make vertical flight accessible to anyone.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, it doesn’t require a pilot license because it’s so light that it qualifies as a “powered ultralight.” Moreover, it boasts a wingless body with an unusual open cockpit powered by 18 motors. It’s amphibious, too, another quality that made it attractive for military operations.

LIFT, the Texas-based company that developed HEXA started working with the Air Force last year and was recently awarded a Phase 3 contract through the prestigious Agility Prime program. This is basically a green light for LIFT to continue test flights and development of its single-seat multi-rotor aircraft. These more “rigorous” tests are due to begin at the Eglin Air Force Base and will include acoustics testing and developing a modular cargo adaptation for the airframe.

Last year, HEXA achieved a memorable milestone when a military cargo aircraft, the C-130J Super Hercules, carried an eVTOL inside for the first time ever. That is when the Texas-based company achieved initial military airworthiness approval for its single-seat eVTOL.

With this new and advanced testing phase, HEXA is getting closer to beginning operating within several U.S. military departments.

press release
 
 
 
 
 

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