HEXA electric-powered single-seat aircraft flight test at Eglin

EGLIN AFB – A single-seat electric-powered vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft from a Texas-based company working to make flight accessible to the general public was demonstrated in flight earlier this month at Eglin Air Force Base.

During the demonstration, the plane, dubbed HEXA – its 18 battery-powered propellers are arranged in a hexagonal pattern above a single pilot’s seat – was flown remotely for 10 minutes and reached a height of 50 feet, according to information provided by public affairs staff. at Egline.

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LIFT team member Quenton Randolph attaches a battery to one of the HEXA's motors before its maiden flight April 4 at Eglin Air Force Base.  The plane flew for about 10 minutes and reached a height of about 50 feet.

Because it is classified by the Federal Aviation Administration as an “ultralight powered” aircraft, flying the HEXA will not require a pilot’s license, meaning it can be operated by military personnel with minimal training.

In conjunction with the test, LIFT Aircraft – the Austin, Texas-based start-up company producing HEXA for the private, commercial and prospective military markets – announced that it had been awarded a Phase 3 contract with the Army of the United States. air for continued experimentation and development of potential military applications for the single-seat electric flying machine.

That work will begin in Eglin, but could expand to other Air Force sites as well, according to the company.

In the US Army, a Phase 3 contract extends work already done under previous contractual arrangements. Prior to the Phase 3 contract announcement, LIFT Aircraft was working with the Air Force under a Phase 2 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract.

LIFT Aircraft will continue its experimentation and flight testing efforts with the Air Force under the Agility Prime program. Operated by AFWERX, part of the Air Force Technology Innovation Initiative, Agility Prime puts the Air Force in collaboration with industry partners to test, experiment and accelerate the development of commercial eVTOL industry.

The HEXA, an electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft, takes off for a test flight April 4 at Eglin Air Force Base.  The HEXA team carried out the flight tests of the aircraft via the remote control.  The plane, which uses 18 engines and propellers, flew for about 10 minutes and reached a height of about 50 feet.

LIFT Aircraft has been part of Agility Prime since April 2020, and in August of that year, top Air Force leaders gathered at a military installation in the State of Texas to witness the first demonstration of “flying car” Agility Prime by the company.

Since then, the Air Force has explored a number of possible uses for the HEXA with LIFT Aircraft, including medical transport, cargo transport, and troop transport. According to a company press release announcing the Phase 3 contract, the ongoing collaboration with the Air Force is intended “to accelerate and further develop HEXA for future public and military applications such as first responder emergency, personnel transport, basic logistics and search and rescue missions”. .”

On its side of the market, LIFT Aircraft’s press release notes, the collaborative effort with the Air Force “will also help expedite the testing required for LIFT’s planned deployment of commercial flight locations.”

“This partnership provides continued access to the unparalleled expertise of the US Air Force,” said Kevin Rustagi, director of business development for LIFT Aircraft.

Rustagi also noted the benefits that HEXA could bring to the military, providing “an aircraft that provides air mobility at a cost comparable to ground transportation” and which “in the future, with mere hours of training, will enable anyone service member to become a pilot.”

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