The startup Kitty Hawk, funded by Larry Page, a co-founder of Google, has just unveiled a final version of its “flying motorcycle” whose piloting is described by its creators as “as easy as playing Minecraft.”
A little over a year ago, we discovered not surprisingly the strange flying machine built by Kitty Hawk, a company funded by Larry Page, one of the two founders of Google. The Flyer was at the time a prototype oddly presented as a “flying motorbike”, a cross between a drone and a seaplane, which overlapped like a two-wheeled vehicle. If the basic concept remains the same, the machine has evolved considerably and it now exists in a near-finalized version.
The pilot now sits in a streamlined cockpit fixed by two-float arms, to land and take off on the water vertically. The Flyer no longer has 8 but 10 electric rotors, which allow it to fly at about 30 km / h to three meters above the ground or water. Its autonomy varies from 12 to 20 minutes depending on the weight of the driver. It weighs about 113 kg empty, making it an ultra-light flying machine. Under US law, this category does not require a pilot license and may be used over water or in open areas.
A “recreational vehicle”
The Flyer is a “recreational vehicle”, as described by Sebastian Thrun, the boss of Kitty Hawk. It has been thought to be very simple to handle. He is piloting with a handle that is similar to a joystick. No flight instruments or screens: everything has been simplified to the maximum to make flying as intuitive as possible. If the pilot accidentally lets go of the stick, the aircraft hovers.
After an hour of training, a CNN reporter was able to fly solo with the Flyer. This is one of the stated goals of Kitty Hawk: to make flying accessible to as many people as possible. The Flyer is intended for the moment for recreational use. Kitty Hawk opened the pre-orders, without disclosing a rate or availability date. The first customers should be amusement parks that will offer rides in this strange machine.