This week, LIFT Aircraft announced that it has completed the first piloted eVTOL demonstration flights in Japan. Following the nine flights completed in Osaka this week, the demonstration tour will continue in the cities of Niihama and Imabari.
LIFT’s electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, HEXA, was reviewed by the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB), which gave approval for this week’s demonstrations. Marubeni Corporation partnered with LIFT to conduct the flights, and GMO Internet Group also participated. Masatoshi Kumagai of GMO was introduced to the eVTOL aircraft and successfully completed three flight patterns following a training session.
Matt Chasen, founder and CEO of LIFT Aircraft, commented, “JCAB was thorough in their review of our safety standards and our aircraft, and gave us the green light to fly. It’s an honor that our aircraft was selected to be the first eVTOL ever piloted in Japan.”
The eVTOL developer has already worked with the U.S. Air Force to formally conclude Phase 1 flight test and beginner flight envelope development. The HEXA eVTOL conforms to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Part 103, and it can be flown in the U.S. without a pilot’s license or aircraft type certification. LIFT has now launched Alpha Flights which allows for flights conducted by people outside of LIFT’s Flight Operations and Test teams.
The team at LIFT Aircraft has conducted flight testing of its eVTOL concept with the support of the U.S. Air Force since 2020 through a Phase 2 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract. Last spring, a Phase 3 contract was awarded that supports a rigorous flight testing program for HEXA as well as further development of use cases for the aircraft. HEXA is one of many eVTOL aircraft that the Air Force is evaluating through its Agility Prime program.
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