Passenger eVTOL in NYC by 2023? LIFT Aircraft Enters Agreement with Charm Aviation for HEXA Aircraft Tours in NYC
by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby
Electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft developer LIFT Aircraft has announced that it has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with helicopter tour agency Charm Aviation to bring a new personal flight service with passenger eVTOL to New York City as early as 2023.
Passengers can learn to operate LIFT’s semi-autonomous HEXA eVTOL aircraft in under an hour, and then solo pilot the aircraft on aerial tour flights, all without the need for a pilot’s license. As per FAA regulations, flights are restricted to uncrowded flyover areas and uncontrolled airspace. Plans are in place to develop LIFT vertiports along New York City’s waterfront areas, granting access to the “Class G”, Visual Flight Rules (VFR) corridor extending up to 1,300 feet around Manhattan.
“New York is one of the largest markets for helicopter tour and air taxi operations in the world, and we expect the region will be one of the biggest markets for next generation, urban air mobility as well,” said LIFT CEO Matt Chasen. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with the owners of one of the largest helicopter operators in New York to bring LIFT to the region.”
The agreement will see the parties establish a joint venture with exclusive license from LIFT to operate in the greater NYC area. LIFT and Charm have also agreed to a pre-order for 100 HEXA eVTOL aircraft, which they intend to deploy to multiple LIFT vertiports, which they plan to jointly develop in the greater NYC area over the course of the next five years.
“Our top-selling helicopter tour flights last between 12 to 15 minutes, so HEXA’s flight time is a perfect fit for self-piloted, recreational flights,” said Charm Aviation President Caitlyn Ephraim. “These are like segway tours, but in the air – with a much better view and much more fun. These small, electric aircraft are “geo-fenced,” to keep them confined to pre-defined flight areas and corridors, have zero direct emissions, and are much quieter than helicopters, so will help to reduce the noise footprint of the fleets of helicopters we operate today. I can’t wait to fly HEXA around the Statue of Liberty. We think this is the future of the helicopter tour market.”
HEXA can also be used by public agencies to accelerate first response time by as much as 50%. Having already earned its initial airworthiness certification from the USAF, HEXA is anticipated to be deployed by the military as a new manned and unmanned aerial platform.
The two companies will work alongside city officials and the FAA to select the first NY vertiport site in the coming months, with the goal of launching initial trial flights in the city beginning by the end of 2023. LIFT has previously received FAA approval for a planned location in the Austin, TX area.
Read more about passenger eVTOL:
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.
Subscribe to DroneLife here.