Workhorse Group, Inc.
Loveland, Ohio, USA
First flight of the Workhorse SureFly “electric helicopter” was made on Monday, April 30, 2018 at the Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport in Cincinnati, Ohio. The flight was a 10-second untethered hover. This was the world’s first manned flight of a hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft. Initially, the concept was planned to fly at CES2018, after tether testing in Jan. 2018.
The company further announced that on June 1, 2018, the US Federal Aviation Administration had accepted the company’s application for type certification. The company notes “the SureFly design appears to be the first hybrid-electric eVTOL multi-copter to reach this important milestone with the FAA.”
The company posted a video of flight testing on Aug. 6, 2018 of the SureFly conducting higher hovers from testing on Aug. 2, 2018.
According to the Workhorse website: “SureFly is a personal helicopter/VTOL aircraft designed for safe and easy flight. With eight independent motors each driving a single carbon fiber propeller, a backup battery power system, and a ballistic parachute to safely land in the event of emergency, the SureFly provides unparalleled safety for a personal aircraft.”
The company announced the program in a press release on May 31, 2017, stating: “It features a gas combustion engine generating electricity and a parallel battery pack offering a redundant backup power source, eliminates the need for long battery charging periods between flights. SureFly is designed to be easy to operate, and is expected to be capable of carrying two passengers up to 70 miles.” The SureFly is expected to sell for less than $200,000 each.
An accident occurred on April 11, 2018, when the SureFly rolled onto its side during a demonstration, luckily not injuring the test pilot.
- Vertical take off and landing
- Electric Driven Props: 2 props per arm, counter-rotating. Eight motors, each driving a single propeller
- Piloted Vehicle designed to carry pilot and passenger or pilot and cargo
- Gasoline Piston Engine drives dual generators to provide power to prop motors
- Dual Lithium Battery Packs: 7.5 kWh each, used for emergency landing power (5 minutes) in the event the gasoline generator fails
- Full computer and electrical system redudancy
- Ballistic Parachute
- Fuselage and props are carbon fiber for durability and light weight
- Fix Prop Pitch and no transitional parts (No wings, tail, tilt rotor or tilt wings) for simplicity and safety
- Onboard GPS navigation system
- Static ports and a heated pitot tube for altimeter and air speed measurements
- Detect-and-avoid sensors
- Maximum flight distance: 70 miles
- 70 mph (60 kt or 113 km/h) top speed
- One hour of flight time available per tank of gasoline
- Flight ceiling of 4,000 ft (1200 m).
- Curb Weight: 1100 lb. (500 kg)
- Max Takeoff Weight: 1500 lb (680 kg)
- Maximum payload: 400 pounds
- Battery backup system with max theoretical battery power of 20.8 amp hours
- 200 hp (150 kW) at 6,000 RPM aviation gasoline engine (premium unleaded 90 octane gasoline)
- Search eVTOL news posts
- FAA Certification: N834LW
- Press release: SureFly Hybrid Electric Manned Multi-Copter Enters FAA Type Certification Process, Workhorse, June 6, 2018
- Press release: Reinventing the Helicopter After 78 Years: Workhorse Group Inc. Will Unveil SureFly™ Concept at Paris Air Show, May 31, 2017
- Incident Report: Incident Workhouse SureFly Manned Rotor, ASN Wikibase, April 11, 2018
- Article: “SureFly Electric Helicopter Achieves First Flight”, Aviation Week, May 4, 2018
- Article: Aviation Comes to the Consumer at CES 2018, Feb. 21, 2018
- Article: The eVTOL is in the Details, Feb. 21, 2018
- Article: Innovation in the Parisian Summer: Paris Air Show 2017 Report, Vertiflite, Sept-Oct 2017
- Article: Interest is High for Workhorse Personal Electric Helicopter, Trucks.com, September 2017
- Photo walk-around, Paris Air Show (AHS photos by Ian Frain), June 2017
- Photo gallery: CES2018, Jan. 2018
- Video: SureFly Has Taken Flight, Workhorse Group, May 3, 2018
- Video: Workhorse SureFly CES 2018 test, YouTube, Jan. 9, 2018
- Video: Workhorse SureFly Octocopter, AVweb, November 9, 2017