Israel-based eVTOL developer AIR has successfully completed its first full forward flight of its AIR One vehicle, perfectly transitioning from hover to cruise.
On 18 December, the full scale prototype, loaded to full capacity of 1,100kg (2425lbs), took off and transitioned to its nominal cruising speed. This landmark accomplishment kicks off thousands of flight hours planned as part of the AIR One FAA certification process, which will see range, speed and endurance increase as design of the aircraft is optimised to achieve its design flight profile.
While much of the emerging advanced air mobility (AAM) market focuses on commercial applications such as air taxis, AIR is spearheading a new category in the industry: personal air mobility - an everyday alternative for short distance commuting in the sky. Capable of taking off and landing on any flat surface with a 250kg payload, the all-electric two seat aircraft offers a practical long range on a single charge at speeds up to 155 mph (250 km/h). AIR One can be stored in most garages and driveways and is suitable for trailer hauls.
"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," says CEO and co-founder Rani Plaut. "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."
AIR now plans to transfer the bulk of its operations and R&D to the US, where further flight testing, development and ongoing certification collaboration with the FAA will continue.
AIR completed multiple successful and extensive propulsion tests and performed a series of necessary electronic and stability tests prior to the first forward flight, which served as an important proof of concept. In addition, AIR has invested in strategic partnerships with aviation companies around the world and unveiled the full scale prototype at this year's Kentucky Derby, EAA AirVenture and Detroit Auto Show, all since coming out of stealth nearly a year and a half ago.
With more than 260 pre-orders already secured and a growing network of brand ambassadors, AIR is continuing to accept advance orders.