Japan is home to many weird but cool technological inventions such as voice-activated fridges, notification glasses, flying umbrellas, and now a single sitting personal aircraft. A company based in Japan, Tetra Aviation, which had won the “disruptor award” the previous year, has finally unveiled a commercial vehicle that could go on sale as soon as 2022! They unveiled the single-seating-33-rotor Mk5 personal eVTOL at OshKosh according to the initial report of the New atlas.
The aircraft is a single-seater with a lift and cruise style mechanism having 32 vertical rotors distributed along the span of the wings that are placed behind and in front of the seat and a single propeller at the end of the tail for the rear movement. The whole Mk5’s chassis is mainly built from aluminum with the bodywork consisting of lightweight carbon fiber reinforced polymer including some aramid fiber into the composition.
The prototype that was displayed at OshKosh which could already take a flight has 2.51 m (8.2 ft) height, 6.15 m (20.2 ft) long, and 8.62 m (28.2 feet) wide which isn’t that small of a beast. It also carries a 13.5-kWh battery that weighs 488 kilos (1,076 lb) while its maximum take-off weight is 567 kg (1,250 lb). This makes it so that the pilot should not weigh more than 79kg (174-lb) to fly this beast.
But as mentioned earlier these are nonetheless prototype numbers that are bound to increase on the end product such that a 91kg (200 lb) pilot can fly it with cruise speeds up to 160 km/h (100mph) and travel up to 160 km (100miles) on a single charge.
The biggest concern for such single-seaters eVTOL is its safety. Tetra Aviation has done a great job to make the Mk5 a safe aircraft. It is equipped with three redundant flight controllers that are capable of distributing power to the 32 vertical life propellers in case of motor or flight control failure. Although it has not been made known about the battery pack’s design for safety, just in case if you get yourself too high you’ll have a ballistic parachute to rely on.
The company, Tetra Aviation, has plans to make it available commercially as a home-built experimental kit aircraft, such that you will be flying one of these with a private pilot’s license in the US. The company also has further plans to sell pre-built aircraft with certification while trying its best to avoid the highly bureaucratic process of the commercial category which most of the air taxi manufacturers are facing right now. Talking about its price, the company still hasn’t mentioned how much Mk5 would cost you to own but if it turns out to be over your budget, there are plenty of other eVTOLs launching in the market soon enough.
Many manufacturers are entrenched with the idea of a “buy ‘n’ fly” single-seater aircraft so in a couple of years the market should see quite a lot of competitors. At OshKosh similar to Tetra’s product, Opener’s BackFly was also present performing manned flights which supposedly doesn’t actually require a license for you to fly in them. Similarly, Next UAS has also shown its iFly which also is not supposed to require a pilot’s license and can fit in your garage but the company is looking for further investment to continue the project.