Flying cars are being touted as the next big thing in the industry and several manufacturers have stated they are working on their own models. A company that has got ahead of the competition is Kitty Hawk, as they already have a fully functioning flying car and school to carry out tests. The company, owned by Google co-founder Larry Page, has set up a training facility in Las Vegas.
The Kitty Hawk features ten propellers that are independently powered by ten motors. Weighing 250 lbs, the car is currently limited to flying at 6 mph, with the battery lasting around 20 minutes. The car falls into the ‘ultralight’ craft category, meaning drivers won’t need a pilot’s licence to own one. The company predicts that when the Kitty Hawk is ready it will sell for between £30,800 and £38,500.
Todd Reichert, Kitty Hawk’s lead engineer said “working with the regulatory bodies to figure out how to move from recreation to exploration to transportation is going to be super important, and that’ll take time. Any limits are only temporary. It’ll be a while before we can fly in a hurricane. But it won’t be too long before we can fly in a lot of conditions.”
People have had the opportunity to fly the Kitty Hawk at the Las Vegas facility. New flyers take part in a basic simulation that teaches them how to control the car. This involves dealing with changes in altitude and using a small joystick to handle direction. The flyers are then allowed to pilot the Kitty Hawk, which is strapped to the ground. Finally, flyers learn how to exit the vehicle in an emergency.
The tests are being carried out over a lake for safety purposes. Brittney Miculka described her experience flying the Kitty Hawk. “I really don’t have to think about a lot other than letting the aircraft do its thing and then putting it where I want it to go. That’s the beauty of it – because you’re out there you’re flying beautiful scenery, and I just tell it where I want to go. I don’t have to overthink anything.”
With the Kitty Hawk being tested on a regular basis, it seems that it will become one of the first flying cars to be offered on the mainstream vehicle market.