Israeli eVTOL developer Air said its Air One prototype vehicle recently made its first transition from a hover to cruise flight, marking the beginning of thousands of test-flight hours planned as part of the aircraft’s FAA certification process.
The company said the prototype was loaded to its maximum takeoff weight of 2,425 pounds during the transition test and operated at its normal cruising speed of 100 mph. Air said it expects the aircraft’s speed, range, and endurance to increase as testing continues and engineers and designers make adjustments to optimize its performance.
Like many eVTOL companies, Air has discussed a development timeline that includes deliveries of its aircraft to customers within the next two to three years. However, while most prominent eVTOL makers are focusing on commercial markets including shuttle and air taxi operations, Air is aiming the Air One at consumers as a personal aircraft for commuting and other short trips.
Company marketing materials show the aircraft parked in home driveways and garages, and emphasize its simplicity of operation.
“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.”
The company said it plans to move most of its operations including research and development to the U.S. in preparation for further flight testing and other activities related to certification. Air said it is taking orders for the Air One on its website and has more than 260 advance orders for the aircraft.