Air, a start-up developing a personal eVTOL aircraft called Air One, has achieved its first transition flight, “perfectly” transitioning from hover to wing-borne cruise flight, the company announced on December 20.
According to Air, the transition flight took place on Sunday, December 18 at approximately 3 p.m. local time, at the company’s test facility in northern Israel. Loaded to full capacity at its maximum takeoff weight of 2,425 pounds (1,100 kg), the two-seat aircraft took off vertically before transitioning to forward flight for the first time at its normal cruise speed.
The successful transition flight came almost six months after the Air One completed its first hover flight in July. Initially, the company says each remotely piloted test flight will last 15 minutes and this duration will be extended over the next few months as it prepares to put a pilot on board in 2023. The all-electric Air One is expected to have a maximum flight duration of 60 minutes on a single charge.
“It is thrilling to have reached this moment in our journey as we strive to build the foundation to make personal air mobility a reality,” said Rani Plaut, CEO and co-founder of AIR. “Air is incredibly proud to play a role in the global AAM movement, and we’re looking forward and upward to 2024 when adoption of privately-owned eVTOLs takes flight.”
While most eVTOL developers plan to offer their aircraft for commercial uses, such as air taxi rides and cargo shipments, Air is targeting individual consumers as the primary customers for the Air One vehicle. The fixed-wing aircraft, which can seat one pilot and one passenger, can fold up to fit in most garages and driveways.
Air says the vehicle will offer a range of 110 miles (177 kilometers) and a maximum speed of 155 mph (250 km/h), and its cruise speed is about 100 mph (161 km/h). It can fly for about one hour on a single charge and can carry a maximum payload of 440 pounds (200 kg), enough for two people plus some luggage.
Following this week’s successful transition flight, Air says it plans to conduct “thousands of flight hours” with the aircraft as part of its FAA certification process. The company aims to have its aircraft certified and ready to begin deliveries in 2024. Although the company is based in Israel, Air says it plans to move the bulk of its research and development operations to the United States to help streamline its FAA certification process.
The initial production version of the Air One will be available to customers for a base price of $150,000, but the company also plans to offer upgraded versions at higher price points in the future. “Additional offerings are still in the works, however, we envision a range of options including increased range, interior upgrades, and improved customer experience features,” Plaut previously told FutureFlight.
The aircraft is available to reserve online with a $1,000 deposit, and Air says it has already secured more than 260 pre-orders. The company intends to establish a network of dealerships in locations such as Florida.