The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

In November 2019, Moog paid $4 million to acquire the SureFly eVTOL program from Workhorse. Neither Workhorse nor Moog has published a timeline for achieving type certification for the two-seat aircraft. In February 2020, Moog told reporters at the Singapore Air Show that it intends to fly a technology demonstrator version of the aircraft before the end of the year. The company indicated that it intends to pursue possible military applications for the aircraft, including evacuation and resupply missions. 

In June 2018, Workhorse applied to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to begin type certification of the aircraft, having completed first flight earlier that year. Then in September 2018, the company said it intended to sell the program.

Timeline

Projected

test flight

During the Singapore Air Show in February 2020, Moog revealed plans to fly a technology demonstrator before the end of the year.

type certification applied

Workhorse applied to FAA for type certification

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

Moog's decision to acquire the SureFly eVTOL program appears to have significantly boosted the aircraft's prospects for making it to market. It was clear that the program had stalled due to lack of funding under Workhorse's ownership. In mid-December 2019, the company declined to comment when asked what the next steps and timeline would be for the SureFly program. "These are maturing technologies, and, over time, we will be working with regulators to shape future requirements," said a spokesperson. This could be taken to mean that the scope of the program could end up being revised.

The company's revelation that it intends to fly a SureFly technology demonstrator in 2020 is the first clue as to a possible timeline for the program.

SureFly Models

SureFly Specifications

Optionally-piloted vtol Multicopter

Performance

  • Passenger Capacity
    2
  • Range
    70 mi
  • Cruise Speed
    80 mph
  • Powerplant Type
    multi rotor
  • Power Source
    hybrid_fe
  • Endurance
    150 min
  • Max Altitude
    5,000 ft
  • Takeoff Distance
    n/a
  • Landing Distance
    n/a
  • Empty Weight
    n/a
  • MGTOW
    2,400 lb
  • Payload Weight
    n/a

Dimensions

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

SureFly is a two-seat, hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft with eight contra-rotating propellers fitted to four arms protruding from the main fuselage. The aircraft has a parachute recovery system. Power comes from a gas-powered engine driving electric motors. The aircraft has four 30 kWh lithium-ion batteries to provide five minutes of power in case the main engine fails.