The Kitty Hawk Flyer marks an exciting milestone in air travel for wealthy buyers who want to fly for fun with a minimum of effort. The all-electric aircraft is developed in Silicon Valley by Kitty Hawk Corporation, and backed by Larry Page, one of the co-founders of Google. Its light body and austere design are enough to qualify it as an Ultralight under the regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration. This means interested buyers won’t need a pilot’s license to operate it.
The Flyer is designed to fly over fresh water in uncongested areas. The pair of pontoons act as landing gear, and eight rotors provide lift. The pilot sits on top of it like a motorcycle, and operates controls mounted on a set of handlebars. Currently still in development, the final design may undergo changes and there is no official price revealed yet.
Kitty Hawk boasts it only takes “few hours of training on a flight simulator” before its personal aircraft can be taken for a solo flight. To make the ride as enjoyable as possible, the company has collaborated with various non-pilots.
A production version of the Flyer will be available for sale by the end of 2017. To qualify for the FAA’s Ultralight category, the aircraft must be used for sport or recreation only, hold only one person, and fly no faster than 55 knots (about 63 mph). There will be other restrictions on its capability and use. The cost will be announced upon launch of the production version.