Flying cars, or at least their functional equivalent, edge closer to reality every day — and startup Kitty Hawk wants you to know it’s putting in the flying time to make it happen. The company, led by former Google self-driving car visionary Sebastian Thrun, has now flown its first aircraft, the one-person Flyer, more than 25,000 times. That includes both its excursions as a prototype that resembled a flying motorcycle or ATV, and its current, more refined, mostly enclosed cockpit design.
Flyer is now one of two aircraft that Kitty Hawk is working on bringing to market, alongside its Cora two-person, autonomous taxi built in collaboration with Boeing. Flyer is a one-person, human-piloted aircraft designed primarily for recreational use, and Kitty Hawk has said it has refined the vehicle to the point where someone with no experience can learn to fly it in 15 minutes. The company is currently looking for applications for potential partners who want to deploy it in their communities, and it does seem like the type of thing that might do well as an organized excursion activity at a travel destination or resort.
From prototype, to vehicle that has traveled more than 25,000+ times, Flyer is working on making the dream a reality. pic.twitter.com/sBb2kZ7vNw
— Kitty Hawk (@kittyhawkcorp) August 14, 2019
There’s no info on pricing or actual availability yet, but there was a limited Founder Series pre-order for individual purchasers with deep pockets. The aircraft features pontoons and is designed for use over water, and it can fly between three and 10 feet above the surface with vertical take-off and landing capabilities.
Personally, I’d probably opt for the flying jet-ski over paragliding if it was on offer at a vacation spot, so here’s hoping this actually finds a path to commercialization somewhat soon.