The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

Lift Aircraft is developing the Hexa electric multicopter to be operated under FAA's Powered Ultralight rules. These limit empty weight to 254 pounds. Hexa has a maximum takeoff weight of 423 pounds. Powered ultralights can only operate during daylight in Class G uncontrolled airspace and do not require the operator to hold a pilot's license. 

Hexa will operate partly autonomously with pre-set limits, such as the need to prevent the aircraft from straying into controlled airspace.

Lift Aircraft says it has been flying the prototype for some time and is making preparations for series production. In December 2019, it was preparing to do a limited number of customer flight demonstrations in its home city of Austin, Texas. Plans for a 25-city U.S. demonstration tour due to start in the first quarter of 2020 were pushed back to make time for more flight tests. However, the company insisted that it is "entering into production" and will have production aircraft ready for the start of the planned tour.

Timeline

Lift Aircraft planned to start customer demonstration flights in late 2019, followed by a 25-city U.S. tour in early 2020.

Outlook

Our objective assessment of this program’s probable success.

FutureFlight assesses the probability of success for a new aircraft program by considering the following criteria:

  • Total investment funds available in proportion to the anticipated cost of getting an aircraft certified and in service
  • A company’s in-house capability (in terms of numbers of engineers, technical staff, and customer support teams)
  • The past experience of the company and its senior leadership in developing aircraft
  • The caliber and past experience of key program partners
  • Whether key aircraft systems have been selected and are available for use
  • Whether the preliminary design review has been completed
  • Whether the design for the full-scale prototype has been completed
  • Whether the type certification process has been formally initiated with an appropriate regulator
  • Whether the company has achieved a first flight with a full-scale prototype
  • The number of hours logged in a flight test program
  • Whether type certification has been achieved
  • The number of orders and commitment received for the aircraft
  • Whether the company has adequate facilities to begin series production of the aircraft
Our Methodology

Lift Aircraft is trying to forge a new leisure flying market with an aircraft that can operate within the limits of FAA's Powered Ultralight rules. Critically, these do not require a pilot's license. However, this is a new application of the rules, predicated on the notion that the Hexa aircraft can be operated on a partly autonomous basis through the flight computer, with the "pilot" providing limited input via a joystick. The flight computer will need to maintain operational limits, such as not allowing the aircraft to stray into controlled airspace. The company is planning to start taking pre-registration bookings for flight from early 2020, which will be the first concrete indicator of potential demand for this untried application. However, the fact that a planned demonstration tour had been delayed, as of mid-January 2020, suggests that the program timeline might be lagging slightly.

Hexa Models

Hexa Specifications

Optionally-piloted vtol Multicopter

Performance

  • Passenger Capacity
    1
  • Range
    n/a
  • Cruise Speed
    63 mph
  • Powerplant Type
    n/a
  • Power Source
    electric
  • Endurance
    15 min
  • Max Altitude
    1,200 ft
  • Takeoff Distance
    n/a
  • Landing Distance
    n/a
  • Empty Weight
    n/a
  • MGTOW
    423 lb
  • Payload Weight
    n/a

Dimensions

  • Length
    n/a
  • Width
    n/a
  • Height
    n/a
  • Wingspan
    n/a

The first Hexa aircraft is a single-seat electric multicopter that will be fly for up to 15 minutes, depending on the weight of the passenger/pilot. 

Key Personnel

Lift Aircraft founder and CEO Matt Chasen
Matt Chasen

Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Founder