After years of effort, Tacoma, Washington – Geneva based zeva conducted the first unrestricted controlled flight test of its full-size aircraft, a device that looks like a flying saucer.
The demonstration took place on January 9 at a ranch in rural pierce County, not far from zewa headquarters. In four independent flights, aircraft zero completed controlled hovering, simulated low-speed taxiing maneuver and limited vertical climb maneuver for more than four minutes.
Zeva’s flying saucer is an electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, or evtol, driven by four pairs of rotors. It is designed to take off vertically by a pilot, then turn to the horizontal direction and fly at a speed of 160 mph for a range of 50 miles.
Stephen tibbits, CEO and chairman of zeva, said at a press conference today: “this is a great turning point for zeva because we have joined a series of proven flight evtol platforms, which proves the unremitting efforts and creativity of our whole team in the past two and a half years.”.
The company can even trace its history back to a more distant time – the $2 million Gofly Grand Prix supported by Boeing, which was launched in 2017. Zeva is one of the teams striving for the $1 million award, which was awarded by the United Nations World Tourism Organization in 2020.
Despite setbacks, tibitz and his team continued to develop aircraft zero. In the past year, the company has employed some key personnel, successfully completed more than 50 tethered flights, demonstrated zero at the Dubai air show in November, and received funding from the Joint Center for aerospace technology innovation in Washington.
Flight control engineer Gus Meyer said: “the zeva team has done incredible work in the design and manufacture of this aircraft, which has been proved in this exceptionally smooth and successful first flight.” The radio link guided him through the remote zero test.
A manikin is placed in the cockpit to replace a human pilot.
In a telephone interview, tibbits told geekwire that the success of this week’s test caused “great joy” among team members.
“We have been trying to occupy this mountain for a long time,” tibitz said. “This week I’ve been saying, ‘my God, what’s the next step?’ especially how to get down a mountain.”
Once tibbits and his teammates have completed the evaluation of the first flight test results, they will work to expand the scope of further hover flight test and start the transition flight test as early as this spring.
The crowdfunding activities are being carried out on the startengine platform. Finally, the company plans to accept a zero advance order with a deposit of $5000, and the target price of the first production units is $250000 or less.
“Our long-term goal is consumers, but there are a lot of things to be prepared before that,” tibbits said. Getting UFOs certified by the Federal Aviation Administration will be a key step.
The first customers are likely to be the first responders and emergency workers in areas with particularly difficult operations. “These types of vehicles are perfect where there is no infrastructure,” tibitz said.