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Kitty Hawk takes pre-orders for Flyer personal aircraft [Video]

by Justin King

The Larry Page-backed startup will sell the VTOL aircraft as an ultralight, requiring no official training to fly.

Kitty Hawk has revealed its first production-bound personal aircraft, the Flyer.

Initially focused on personal recreation, the small aircraft has a wingspan of 13 feet and takes off vertically (VTOL) via 10 independent lift fans.

The all-electric system likely houses its batteries in dual pontoon-like structures separate from the central fuselage and cockpit. Landing skids enable takeoff from land but are presumably designed for floatation, as the Flyer is intended to be used above water.

'Riders' will initially be limited to an altitude of just 3-10 feet above the water at speeds of up to 20 mph, with an expected flight duration of 12-20 minutes.

The Flyer will be sold as an ultralight aircraft under the Federal Aviation Administration's Part 103 regulations. The categorization limits the vehicle to a single seat and a maximum empty weight of just 254 pounds.

The Part 103 weight restriction effectively serves as a range limiter due to the weight of batteries, but eliminates the need to obtain aircraft certification or flight training.

Kitty Hawk's altitude and speed restrictions are said to be for "first riders." The company has not disclosed an actual maximum speed or ceiling, nor a process for qualifying pilots to fly the aircraft above solid ground at potentially dangerous heights.