Google co-founder's flying vehicle company is taking pre-orders
Jun 09 2018 by Johnny Bowman
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Page funded the Kitty HawkFlyer model, which he calls "an exciting first step to sharing the freedom of flight".
Kitty Hawk says the Flyer is "easy to fly" but recommends professional training.
Kitty Hawk has not yet set a release date for its Flyer, but it has already set up a training facility on Lake Las Vegas to give people a taste of flying its baby.
SAN FRANCISCO: A flying auto project backed by Google co-founder Larry Page was closer to take-off on Wednesday, with a model for test flights by aspiring buyers.
The electric aircraft is capable of vertical take-off and landing like a helicopter.
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The company opened for business past year in California, and its prototype has been tested in New Zealand.
Kitty Hawk chief executive Sebastian Thrun, who founded the Google X lab devoted to "moonshots" such as self-driving cars and internet-synched eyewear, was quoted by CNN as saying piloting Flyer was as easy playing the video game "Minecraft". The company has not disclosed an actual maximum speed or ceiling, nor a process for qualifying pilots to fly the aircraft above solid ground at potentially risky heights.
The start-up teased the Flyer in a demo video previous year, and is now nearing public roll out.
At 15m away, Kitty Hawk said it sounded about as loud as a lawnmower, while from 75m away, the volume was like a loud conversation.
The uncovered cockpit appears big enough for one person, with their head poking out as it might from a go-kart. The personal vehicles are available for pre-order.
The Flyer only accommodates a single pilot and no passengers, but since the FAA categorizes it as a recreational ultralight vehicle, you don't need any sort of certification or registration to fly it. Sensors and software aboard the craft keep it fully stabilized in the air, allowing the pilot to control it with just two joysticks. Kitty Hawk operates on a "joy stick".