The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

Lift Aircraft is developing the Hexa electric multicopter to be operated under the FAA's Powered Ultralight rules, primarily for leisure flying. These rules limit empty weight for the aircraft 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. The propulsion system consists of 18 electric motors, each with its own battery pack and driving carbon fiber propellers.

Hexa will operate partly autonomously with pre-set limits, such as the need to prevent the aircraft from straying into controlled airspace. According to founder and CEO Matt Chasen, customers will be able to learn how to fly the Hexa with less than an hour of training. Beyond leisure flying, Lift intends to support short personal transportation travel for flights of up to around 15 miles in a new version of the Hexa that it aims to bring to market by the end of the 2020s.

Lift Aircraft says it has been flying the prototype since early 2019 and 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, and then further delayed by Covid restrictions.

In a year-end blog published in December 2020, Chasen reported that the Lift team had completed "hundreds" of test flights during 2020. They also took the opportunity to introduce several design changes to the landing gear and floats, as well as the means to fold the airframe for easy storage.

During the Vertical Flight Society's Forum 77 event in early May 2021, Chasen said that his company is close to appointing a manufacturing partner, likely to be an existing tier one aerospace supplier, to step up planned production rates. On June 21, Lift Aircraft confirmed that Texas-based composites specialist Qarbon Aeropscae will be its manufacturing partner.

According to Chasen, the Texas-based company is currently producing about one of the vehicles each month and wants to double this rate by the end of 2021. At the end of 2020, Lift reported a waiting list of reservations for the Hexa from 15,000 prospective customers.

Company income has been boosted by a number of research and development contracts from the U.S. Air Force's Agility Prime program. It also has a partnership with the University of Texas's Center for Autonomous Air Mobility. In November 2020, Lift demonstrated the Hexa at the Urban Air Mobility Expo in South Korea. 


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


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. 

Predictably, the Covid pandemic disrupted plans for a sales demonstration tour of the U.S. in 2020 but, somewhat remarkably, by year end the company reported a waiting list of 15,000 customers who have made reservations for the Hexa. The anticipated appointment of a production partner able to support ambitious plans to ramp up manufacturing rates could bolster the program's prospects. The support of the U.S. Air Force's Agility Prime program raised Lift's profile in government circles while also providing revenue stream from research and development contracts. The company does not appear to be actively fund-raising.

Hexa Models

Hexa Specifications

Optionally-piloted vtol Multicopter


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


  • Length
  • Width
  • Height
  • Wingspan

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