AUSTIN (KXAN) – The future of flying cars is closer now than ever before. Austin-based LIFT Aircraft announced Thursday that they achieved their first piloted test flight in Osaka, Japan.
The company’s eVTOL, or electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing vehicle, named HEXA, completed nine flights as part of the demonstration.
eVTOL or Air Taxis are, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, part of the “new era of aviation.” The FAA oversees certification of these vehicles in the U.S. According to LIFT, Japan does not have an equivalent regulation.
LIFT CEO Matt Chasen said in a statement that the successful demonstration is “a strong indication to the world, and especially the thousands on our waitlist, that they will have the opportunity to fly very soon.”
The Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) oversees flying vehicles in Japan. The agency reviewed HEXA before the demonstration.
Japanese internet company GMO Internet Group participated in the demonstration. The flights were done in partnership with Marubeni Corporation, a Japanese investment company. More demonstrations are planned for next week in other parts of Japan.
According to LIFT, the HEXA aircraft meets FAA standards for an ultralight vehicle. Because it meets this standard, the company said it can be flown in U.S. today without a pilot’s license.
However, there are other restrictions on these aircraft. For instance, they must be flown in daylight hours, they can’t be operated over people or in a congested area like a town.
What is LIFT Aircraft?
LIFT Aircraft is based in Austin, TX. According to the company, they are working with the the U.S. Air Force to develop their eVTOL.
The company said their LIFT Aircraft uses multiple rotors, is amphibious and considered an ultralight vehicle. Training to pilot the craft takes “an hour.”