SAN FRANCISCO: A flying vehicle 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 firm also plans to invite business partners and social influencers to fly the machine which should help the public, and lawmakers, become aware that these vehicles exist and what their capabilities are.
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.
"Flyer is created to be easy to fly for recreational purposes over water and uncongested areas", said the website.
Initially focused on personal recreation, the small aircraft has a wingspan of 13 feet and takes off vertically (VTOL) via 10 independent lift fans.
While several pre-orders have been made for The Flyer, Kitty Hawk has declined to reveal the sale price.
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An early version of Flyer was shown off a year ago.
Kitty Hawk said that at 15 meters (50 feet) away, it sounded about as lound as a lawn mower, while from 250 feet away the volume was on par with a loud conversation.
Test flights by first-timers were over water, with the top speed limited to 32kph and the altitude no more than 3m. It is now being tested in New Zealand and has been designed as a transportation alternative for cities with heavy traffic.
The uncovered cockpit appears to be big enough for one person.
According to CNN, Kitty Hawk tried out various methods for controlling the craft, including a steering wheel, video game controllers, and boat throttles but found that a joystick was the most comfortable to use.