LIFT Aircraft Completes Japan’s First Piloted Passenger eVTOL Demonstrations
by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby
This week, LIFT Aircraft conducted the first-ever piloted eVTOL demonstration flights in Japan using its HEXA aircraft. The flights were performed in collaboration with Marubeni Corporation, a partner of LIFT Aircraft in the development and advancement of Japan’s eVTOL market, as well as with the participation of GMO Internet Group.
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The demonstration flights were chosen for the Osaka Prefectural Government’s FY2022 Subsidy for Urban Business Creation Flying Car Projects and as a Candidate Demonstrator for Expo 2025, the Japan Association’s project for the 2025 World Exposition and the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The demonstrations were held for audiences including Japan’s aviation authority, the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB). While HEXA conforms to FAA Part 103 for operation within the US without aircraft type certification or a pilot’s license, Japan lacks an equivalent regulation. JCAB meticulously evaluated the aircraft’s safety, as well as the test program and the flight envelope, before granting permission for the demonstrations to begin.
“JCAB was thorough in their review of our safety standards and our aircraft, and gave us the green light to fly,” said LIFT Aircraft founder and CEO Matt Chasen. “It’s an honor that our aircraft was selected to be the first eVTOL ever piloted in Japan.”
Having formally concluded Phase 1 flight test and beginner flight envelope development with the US Air Force, LIFT has launched Alpha Flights, enabling operation by people outside of their Flight Operations and Test teams. Alpha Flights featured as part of this week’s demonstrations, with GMO Internet Group’s Masatoshi Kumagai successfully piloting HEXA and completing three flight patterns after only around an hour of training and introduction to the aircraft. Nine flights were completed in Osaka, with LIFT and Marubeni to continue their Japan demo tour in Niihama and Imabari next week.
“This is a strong indication to the world, and especially the thousands on our waitlist, that they will have the opportunity to fly very soon,” said Chasen.
Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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