As part of the U.S. Air Force Afwerx Agility Prime program, Capt Terrence McKenna remotely piloted Kitty Hawk's uncrewed Heaviside vehicle, which is one of several eVTOL aircraft being evaluated for military service.
Heaviside now appears to be the main focus of Kitty Hawk's efforts to develop an eVTOL personal air vehicle, after it stopped work on another single-seat model called the Flyer. The California-based company has consistently refused to provide any information about the development timeline for the all-electric aircraft. In June 2020, it laid off 70 staff as part of the reorganization to focus entirely on the Heaviside project.
Kitty Hawk claims that Heaviside will be "100 times quieter" than existing helicopters. It said that in test flights it has demonstrated sound levels of 35 dBA at 1,500 feet and claimed that this will mean almost no noise will be heard from the aircraft within 30 seconds of takeoff. The company says that flight testing of what appears to be a technology demonstrator has achieved a range of 100 miles and speeds of up to 180 mph (while maintaining one-quarter of the charge in its batteries for safety reserves). One of its development aircraft crashed on October 17, 2019, in an accident that investigators from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board concluded was caused by software timing errors compromising flight controls.
Kitty Hawk is also a joint venture partner with Boeing in Wisk, which is developing the Cora eVTOL aircraft for planned air taxi operations.
On March 2, 2021, the company announced it was working with Denmark-based healthcare group Falck to begin developing a medical support version of the Heaviside eVTOL aircraft. Falck hopes to improve emergency response time while reducing the cost of medical flights. Kitty Hawk, to date, has built 13 prototype aircraft with more than 700 test flights under its belt. Still, the company remains secretive about its development timeline for the long-running Heaviside program.
On July 9, 2021, Heaviside became the next eVTOL design to be issued military airworthiness by the U.S. Airforce, allowing Kitty Hawk to earn revenue through the U.S Air Force conducted Agility Prime research and development program.
On January 24 2022, U.S. Air Force Captain Terrence McKenna was announced as the first USAF officer to control a remotely piloted eVTOL aircraft under the direct control of the government after he took the controls of a Heaviside prototype in December 2021.