UAE Backs Mayman's Plans for Speeder VTOL Air Utility Vehicle
The Tawazan Council's Strategic Development Fund is investing $3 million in the California start-up's work to certify the quad-bike-sized VTOL aircraft.
The Speeder is a VTOL air vehicle being developed for various applications including personal transportation, military operations, and emergency medical support. Mayman Aerospace (formerly trading as JetPack Aviation) started flying an initial prototype in tethered mode in May 2021, and plans to fly further prototypes with an initial goal of achieving military airworthiness approval in 2024.
In July 2021, the California-based company said it is ready to start taking pre-orders for the vehicle. It has yet to publish a firm timeline for the program. It has been working with Prometheus Fuels to explore the possible use of fuels produced by the latter's Titan Fuel Forge process that reclaims atmospheric carbon by stripping carbon dioxide (CO2) molecules from the air and “energizing” them into hydrocarbons that can be made into any type of fuel.
In August 2021, the Speeder was selected by the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Special Operations Command to participate in its High Speed VTOL Concept Challenge.
In September 2022, Mayman Aerospace announced that the program had received $1.25 million in funding from the U.S. Air Force's Afwerx Agility Prime program, which is focused on investigating possible military applications for new aircraft.
In December 2022, the program received its first provisional order when Mayman's distributor in the Nordic countries, Savback Helicopters, signed a letter of intent to buy 25 of the vehicles. It views military customers in the region as being the most likely early customers, with a projected list price of $1.8 million. At the same time, the company reported that it aims to start untethered flight testing with a second prototype during 2023 in order to be ready to start the FAA type certification process in 2024.
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Through a Series A funding round, Mayman Aerospace secured initial backing from several investors involved in large technology groups including Tesla, SpaceX, and Skype. It is not clear whether it has sufficient resources to complete the development of the Speeder VTOL design, or when further investment might be sought. The company decided to develop the Speeder, with an anticipated payload of around 600 pounds, after discovering that prospective customers, including the U.S. military, wanted more operational flexibility and performance than was available through its early personal jet pack product. It received a further boost in September 2022, when it received fresh funding from the U.S. Air Force. The company formerly known as JetPack Aviation rebranded as Mayman Aerospace to avoid market confusion between the VTOL vehicle and personal jet packs.
As of the end of 2022, development work appeared ready to advance with untethered flight testing during 2023. The company, which was boosted by a provisional order from its distributor Savback Helicopters, believes it will get clearance to market the Speeder to military customers outside the U.S.
The Speeder is a VTOL air vehicle is intended for various applications, including personal transportation and military operations. It has a projected payload of 600 pounds and is expected to operate in and out of a footprint of just 10 by 10 feet on the ground and at speeds of up to 150 mph. Flight endurance is projected at just 10 to 22 minutes.
The vehicle is intended to run on gasoline, diesel or Jet A aviation fuel.