PRESS RELEASE – 20/09/2023
SKYFLY TECHNOLOGIES LTD – skyfly.aero
Adam Landau – Head of Communications
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
United States Aviation Regulator to recognise Axe evTOL as Light Sport Aircraft
- The US Federal Aviation Administration is set to liberalise its certification requirements for Light Sport Aircraft, allowing pilots to fly the Axe 2 seat electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft using a Sport Pilot Certificate, in addition to a Private Pilot’s License
- Unlike most other eVTOLs, the Axe eVTOL is able to benefit from these new rules because it is – uniquely – capable of operating both like a conventional fixed-wing aircraft as well as being able to fly like a helicopter
- As the world-leading regulator, the FAA is clearly signaling that it encourages innovation and electric aircraft, recognising the benefits of private eVTOLs for society, enabling fast, comfortable, quiet, safe, affordable and eco-friendly air travel
- The first manned test flight of the Axe 2 seat personal eVTOL is planned to take place in Q1 2024
The Federal Aviation Administration is set to recognise the Axe eVTOL as a Light Sports Aircraft, as part of proposals to reform their light aircraft certification requirements. Previously, only single-engine aircraft could be classified as LSAs. However, recognising the part that electric aircraft will play in the future of General Aviation, the reformed rules will allow LSAs to have “any number or type of powerplants”.
The Axe has 8 electric motors and four wings, providing multi-layered safety redundancy, as well as whisper-quiet operation compared to old-fashioned fossil fuel burning helicopters or airplanes.
Most eVTOLs will not be covered by the new rules as powered lift aircraft are explicitly excluded from being considered LSAs. However, the Axe qualifies as an LSA thanks to its unique four four wings giving aerodynamic lift and its fixed 45 degree angle rotors which make it capable of operating as a normal airplane.
“It is meaningful to see the world’s leading aviation regulator, the US Federal Aviation Administration encouraging and supporting sustainability and innovation for eco-friendly electric aircraft like the Axe personal eVTOL by Skyfly. The FAA’s lead will spur on other regulators across the world to make new things happen too. The Axe eVTOL is both a helicopter as well as an airplane, but much easier to fly than either of these, and with a lower environmental impact, less noise and significantly greater safety. By creating a regulatory environment in which the Axe can operate to its full potential, the FAA is taking concrete steps towards making the skies cleaner, quieter, safer and more affordable to all.
Our customers cannot wait to cut their travel times to a quarter or less while enjoying more comfort and freedom in the skies instead of being stuck in traffic on Earth.”
– Jaap Rademaker, CCO, Skyfly
Known as the Modernization of Special Airworthiness Certification (MOSAIC) Reforms, the new rules recognise the importance of sustainable, efficient electric aircraft and intend to increase the suitability of such aircraft for both private use and pilot training.
Classifying the Axe eVTOL as a Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) means pilots will be able to fly the Axe using a Sport Pilot Certificate (SPC). This creates opportunities for non-pilots to qualify to fly the Axe more easily than ever before, while also enabling thousands of existing SPC pilots to fly the Axe without needing to ‘upgrade’ to a full Private Pilot Licence.
Minimum training requirements for an Sports Pilot Certificate (SPC) are less than half that of a full Private Pilot Licence (PPL), and a PPL can typically be almost three times as expensive to obtain. Combined with
While pilots will be able to fly the Axe eVTOL by Skyfly, other eVTOL aircraft cannot yet be flown as pilots licenses worldwide are only for either fixed wing aircraft (airplanes) or rotary wing aircraft (helicopters) – there are no “eVTOL” licenses in existence yet anywhere in the world. The Axe eVTOL by Skyfly can be classified as a fixed wing airplane, can glide, takeoff and land just like any existing airplane – even though it is also capable of vertical takeoffs and landings like a helicopter.
The Axe 2-seat personal eVTOL is aimed at private owners, flying themselves, and is not a commercial air taxi aimed at going into city centres for mass Urban Air Mobility (UAM) transport. In the hover, the Axe can be flown with the same simple and stable controls as a consumer camera drone – and benefits from an autopilot and moving map as standard.
Following two years of test flying the prototype, the Skyfly team now counts 7 full time engineers as well as three contractors, led by William Brooks and is focused on building the Axe to conduct manned test flights in the first quarter of 2024. The Axe is priced from 180,000 USD and can be ordered today.
“I believe that the long-awaited MOSAIC regulations will enable easy and affordable travel for eco-conscious owners who otherwise have few alternatives. The convenience offered by the Axe eVTOL will be a game changer for my clients who will definitely see the value of this time-travel opportunity.”
– Bill Minkoff, CEO, AltiSky (Skyfly USA assembly and build centre)
What is the Axe EVTOL?
With a fully-electric range of 100 miles, or 300 miles with an optional hybrid generator, and a cruise speed of 100mph, the Axe by Skyfly is a truly revolutionary two-seat eVTOL aircraft available for USD 180,000. It is designed for personal use and is as easy to fly as a consumer camera drone. Thanks to its small footprint and low noise, the Axe can be kept at home and flown directly to a destination, in complete comfort and with aerial views to enjoy, without traffic jams or bumpy roads.
Its unique four-winged design (patent pending), developed by renowned aeronautical engineer Dr William Brooks, enables the Axe not just to take off and land vertically like a helicopter, but also to fly, take off and land like a conventional airplane. This globally unique ability to also take off and land on a runway means Skyfly’s Axe is the only personal two-seat eVTOL aircraft that you can fly with any existing airplane pilot’s license. By providing lift, the wings also enable a much larger range compared to “rotors only” eVTOLs, an extra layer of safety due to its good glide performance, and a class-leading 30-50kw energy use in cruise, comparable to a Tesla but not requiring an eco-unfriendly road..
The Axe also offers greatly increased safety compared to a helicopter, thanks to its eight-motor distributed propulsion, each with its own power supply and its glide ability arising from its four wings, which enables power-off landing. Additionally, the Axe is fitted with a ballistic parachute – which a helicopter can never have due to the positioning of its rotors.
Skyfly does not aim to develop an air taxi that shuttles commercial passengers into city centres, nor is it venturing down the onerous commercial certification route, which leads to high development costs. Instead, Skyfly follows existing certification routes for private kit-built aircraft, which greatly reduces costs for the owner and enables the Axe to be sold at a base price of 180,000 USD.
Unlike commercial air taxis, which require as-yet-unbuilt “vertiport” infrastructure, the Axe eVTOL can take off and land in a garden or any agricultural land where the landowner has given permission, without needing modifications or expensive infrastructure. This use is legal and well established, with many light aircraft owners operating in this way worldwide from private “farm strips”.
The Axe is not just an idea or concept, but a fully designed aircraft. Extensive analysis and prototype testing has been carried out and manufacturing is being readied for series production. Our two teams of aircraft engineers have developed the Axe as a versatile personal aircraft with strict focus on low weight and aerodynamic efficiency and performance. Aside from generating lift from its wings, the Axe also differs from other eVTOL designs in that it uses existing technology from proven and certified suppliers to provide key components, including the propulsion system, battery system and flight control system. Furthermore, unlike other winged eVTOLs, it has no rotating motor or wing elements, but instead has fixed angle rotors, saving on weight, cost, complexity and maintenance. For more information about how the Axe stands out from other eVTOLs, watch our full explainer video.
Skyfly’s Chief engineer, Dr William Brooks, has designed the Axe with efficiency at its core, with the four wings giving it the highest energy efficiency in comparison to other two-seat eVTOL aircraft. Compared to many other eVTOL designs, which have no or inadequate wings, the Axe’s wings generate useful lift in forward flight, improving efficiency, range and safety, while also giving it the ability to make conventional wing-borne take-offs and landings if required, saving yet more energy.
Skyfly sees the Axe as a direct competitor to currently-available two seat airplanes or helicopters – one that is much easier to fly, safer, quieter and more affordable to buy, operate and maintain. In addition, whichever bigger airtaxi eVTOL wins the race – these will require pilots, and the two seat, side by side Axe eVTOL is the ideal training vehicle – as the only eVTOL worldwide able to train pilots in fixed wing takeoffs and landings, and emergency glide landings, as well as vertical takeoffs and landings.
Following two years of development, CFD and CAD designing, followed by prototype flight testing, the Axe was officially launched in the summer of 2022. In the months since then, the Axe eVTOL by Skyfly has secured dozens of orders and has attracted the attention of air mobility specialist investors. Their backing allows Skyfly to push forward with its development schedule. The strong and lightweight composite fuselage tooling for series production has meanwhile been manufactured and delivered, and with that, Skyfly is now building its first aircraft, with manned test flights due to begin in Q1 2024. Customer deliveries will follow at the end of 2024, when UK certification is expected.
To find out more about the Axe visit www.skyfly.aero
To watch a video of our prototype flying, visit our YouTube channel.
The Axe EVTOL by Skyfly
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