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Kitty Hawk Cora (white, in CA)

Kitty Hawk Cora – Year in Review

In a year-end report, Kitty Hawk Corporation provided an update on the two-seat Cora eVTOL aircraft first unveiled in March 2018, which is now undergoing autonomous flight-testing in California and New Zealand. Founded in March 2010 as by Stanford professor Ilan Kroo, the company developed proof of concept (POC) eVTOL aircraft in secret for seven years before publically unveiling the Flyer prototype in 2017 and the 12-propeller fixed-wing Cora air taxi a year later. During 2018, the Cora fleet surpassed 700 unmanned flights, new aircraft were added to the flight test fleet and a ballistic parachute system tested for the first time. Cora is designed to operate at altitudes between 500 ft to 3000 ft above ground, cruise at about 100 mph 180 km/h and have an initial range of 62 miles or about 100 km. There are now four Cora registered with the FAA (as the Kitty Hawk Mule SPA), including serial no. 005 (N305XZ) registered in September 2018 and serial no. 006 (N306XZ) registered in late November 2018 as a Mule SPA-Alpha model. Features of the “Alpha” version have not been revealed. In December 2016, Kitty Hawk established Zephyr Airworks to development Cora and the air taxi concept in New Zealand. The first aircraft (serial 002, ZK-UZA, ex-N302XZ) was shipped to New Zealand and began testing soon afterwards at a private airport near Christchurch on the South Island. Zephyr imported a second Cora eVTOL (serial 004, ZK-UZB) in September 2018, completed a hangar in the summer, and signed an agreement with Air New Zealand to explore the development and design of an electric, autonomous air taxi service, using Cora. The ultralight Kitty Hawk Flyer does not require an FAA N-number if it has an empty weight of less than 254 pounds. However, Flyer serial no. 26003 was allocated the registration N333FL in November, possibly under an experimental airworthiness certificate. Kitty Hawk is believed to be secretly developing other electric aircraft, such as the Heaviside N220HV (serial 001) which was first registered as a fixed-wing aircraft in January 2018. The first Heaviside was cancelled from the FAA civil aircraft register in September 2018 but two new Heaviside 2 models were registered in November as N220HV (serial no. H2-001) and N222HV (serial H2-002). Some analysts are speculating that the Heaviside may be the unknown aircraft that was spotted at Palmdale, California’s US Air Force Plant 42 Airport in October 2018. More recently, Kitty Hawk reserved 50 FAA registrations for future electric-powered aircraft, including five registrations ending in “XZ” (presumably for new Cora aircraft, which likely originally stood for “experimental Zee” aircraft) and 45 registrations ending “FL” (presumably for new “Flyer” ultralights), now that the ultralight Flyer is operational. In 2019, Kitty Hawk plans to open a software development center in Atlanta, …

Meet Cora

Meet Cora By Mike Hirschberg Vertiflite May/June 2018 On March 12, Kitty Hawk revealed its latest surprise: Cora. After nearly eight years of secretive electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft development, the Mountain View, California-based company backed by Google co-founder Larry Page finally went public. With the hashtag #MeetCora, Kitty Hawk announced that it had been flying a two-seat derivative of the Zee Aero Z-P2 (see “Electric VTOL News,” Vertiflite March/April 2018) in California and in New Zealand. The company also announced that it had established Zephyr Airworks, the operator of Cora in New Zealand. Zephyr Airworks was started in December 2016 to be able to test and work with the New Zealand government, the Māori people, business partners and the community. “New Zealand is recognized for its safety-focused regulatory environment and a strong history of excellence in airspace management,” the company states on its website. The company shipped its first air taxi to New Zealand in October 2017 and began testing shortly after that. Cora was developed by what had been known as Zee Aero, which was originally founded in 2010 by Larry Page. In 2015, he started a separate electric VTOL company, Kitty Hawk. Many of the leading participants at Aerovelo — the Toronto team that won the AHS Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition in 2013 — moved to California to join the new company (see “Back to Kitty Hawk,” Vertiflite, Nov/Dec 2017). Zee became a subsidiary of Kitty Hawk in 2016 and has now evolved into Cora. As the company explains: “Zee Aero was the name of our Cora team while we were in [the] development stage. Now that the Cora prototype is in the market, we wanted a name that reflected the spirit of Kitty Hawk’s mission of bringing everyday flight to everyone.” (The company is separately developing the Kitty Hawk Flyer, a personal amphibious eVTOL aircraft to go on sale later this year.) Zee History As covered in prior issues of Vertiflite, Zee Aero developed the Z-P2 full-scale, manned eVTOL aircraft, flying it at Hollister Municipal Airport in California. The effort began in March 2010, originally under the leadership of Prof. Ilan Kroo of Stanford University. Patent 9,242,738 (priority date July 19, 2011) illustrates a high-mounted series of vertically mounted electric propellers similar to the first vehicle, which was given the deceptively dull name, “Proof of Concept” (POC). The subscale POC made its first unmanned (self-piloted) hover in December 2011 and completed its first transition in February 2014. The aircraft demonstrated flights up to 60 mph (100 km/h) with vertical takeoffs and landings. The aircraft was publicly unveiled by Kitty Hawk CEO Sebastian Thrun (see sidebar) on CNN in December 2017. Next came the manned Z-P1, which only made conventional takeoffs and …

Kitty Hawk Cora (yellow in NZ)

Kitty Hawk Cora

Cora Kitty Hawk Corp. Mountain View, California Kitty Hawk unveiled on March 12, 2018, that it had been flying a two-seat derivative of the Zee Aero Z-P2 in California and in New Zealand. The company also announced: Zephyr Airworks is the operator of Kitty Hawk in New Zealand. New Zealand is recognized for its safety-focused regulatory environment and a strong history of excellence in airspace management. Kitty Hawk established Zephyr Airworks in December 2016 “to be able to test and work with the New Zealand Government, New Zealand Maori/iwi, business partners and the community. We shipped our first air taxi to New Zealand in October 2017 and began testing shortly after that.” Zee.Aero was the name of our Cora team while we were in the development stage. Now that the Cora prototype is in the market, we wanted a name that reflected the spirit of Kitty Hawk’s mission of bringing everyday flight to everyone. Kitty Hawk also described the safety features of Cora: “Cora is a vehicle just like a car or an airplane. Anything that moves has some inherent risk. Cora has a number of safety features such as: Independent Rotors: Because our fans & propellers are electric, they can operate independently. An issue with one has no effect on the others. Triple Redundant Flight-Computer: Cora is equipped with three independent flight-computers that each calculate its location. If there’s an issue with one of them, Cora can still reliably navigate. A parachute that launches if Cora needs to land without its fans.” In 2017, the Kitty Hawk Cora program received $1 million from the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx), a Pentagon organization that focuses on implementing cutting-edge technology into the U.S. Military. For its initial flight testing, Cora was only permitted to test three times per week, and was limited to the airspace over Hollister Airport. Now, Cora is allowed to fly up to 5,000 ft, either flying itself or with non-paying passengers aboard. Information provided with the Cora announcement: Company Name: Kitty Hawk Corporation is a California-based company. Zephyr Airworks is the operator of Kitty Hawk in New Zealand. Headquarters: Mountain View, California Kitty Hawk CEO: Sebastian Thrun Zephyr Airworks CEO: Fred Reid Product Name: Cora (prototype) Type of Machine: Air taxi Power: All-electric Capacity: Designed for two passengers. Altitude: Operates between 500 ft to 3000 ft above the ground (150 m to 900 m). Max Altitude: 10,000 ft (3.04 km) Wingspan: 36 feet (11 m) Vertical take-off and landing: Cora is powered by 12 independent lift fans, which enable her to take off and land vertically like a helicopter. Therefore, Cora has no need for a runway. Fixed-wing flight: On a single propeller Range: Initially about 62 miles (100 km) Flight Time (with 10-minute reserve): 19 minutes Speed: About 110 mph (180 kph) Passenger Cargo Capacity: 400 lbs (181 kg) Regulation: Cora has …

Cora First Flight


First unmanned flight of the Kitty Hawk Cora at the Hollister Municipal Airport, Hollister, California, USA.  

White House Supports eVTOL

On Aug. 30, 2019, the Trump Administration issued Policy Memorandum M-19-25, FY 2021 Administration Research and Development Budget Priorities (9 pages, 2.08 MB): This Fiscal Year 2021 (FY2021) R&D Budget Priorities memorandum provides direction to enable this Second Bold Era as part of a longer-term, multisector, national strategy to advance bold, transformational leaps in S&T, build a diverse workforce of the future, solve previously intractable grand challenges, and ensure America remains the global S&T leader for generations to come. GENERAL GUIDANCE FOR FY2021 For FY2021, the five R&D budgetary priorities in this memorandum ensure that America remains at the forefront of scientific progress, national and economic security, and personal well-being, while continuing to serve as the standard-bearer for today’s emerging technologies and Industries of the Future…. 2. American Leadership in Industries of the Future The Trump Administration continues to prioritize the technologies that power Industries of the Future (lotF). These industries promise to fuel American prosperity, improve quality of life and national security, and create high-paying jobs for American workers. Sustained, strategic R&D investment in these emerging technologies and the materials, manufacturing, and computing that support them will advance American S&T leadership in the short term and catalyze discoveries and innovations that will shape the global S&T landscape for the decades ahead…. Advanced Communications Networks and Autonomy: Departments and agencies should support the development and deployment of advanced communications networks by prioritizing R&D consistent with the National Spectrum R&D Strategy. They should prioritize R&D to lower barriers to the deployment of surface, air, and marine autonomous vehicles with a focus on developing operating standards, integration approaches, traffic management systems, and defense/security operations. Departments and agencies should prioritize R&D that enables electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing and civil supersonic aircraft, including for type certification, the creation of over-land supersonic flight noise standards, and low-sonic-boom aircraft research….. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) are responsible for the interagency coordination and development of technical reports, strategy documents, and policy memos concerning various scientific and technological topics of importance to the Nation. The Vertical Flight Society thanks the Administration for recognizing the transformative capabilities that electric VTOL technologies promise. With more than 200 eVTOL concepts now being explored around the world, it is critical that governments nurture this burgeoning industry and support its growth. If the White House wants to see America lead in eVTOL, VFS encourages the Administration to support the FY2021 “R&D Budget Priorities” memo with real investments. NASA and the Department of Transportation have committed some resources towards eVTOL/urban air mobility over the past several years but more is needed to speed this revolutionary capability to the public benefit. Several aerospace organizations, including the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and the Vertical …

The Potential of eCTOL

The Potential of eCTOL Electric Conventional Take-Off and Landing Aircraft Take Off! By Nicolas Zart Vertiflite, September/October 2019 While essentially all of the news on electric aviation in Vertiflite has focused on electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, developments of electric conventional take-off and landing (eCTOL) airplanes have recently accelerated. Airbus and Boeing Electric Airplanes Big aviation players have already struck strategic alliances with aerospace startups in addition to developing their aircraft. Boeing and Airbus, for instance, are hedging their urban air mobility (UAM) bets with both eVTOL and eCTOL projects. At larger scales, electrifying airplanes is a complex topic that can only be achieved slowly, progressively, until battery energy density improves enough to allow for greater payloads and range. In the meantime, electric power is picking up ancillary systems and removing heavier hydraulic, pneumatic, and other traditional systems in “more-electric aircraft.” The Boeing 787, for example, pioneered many electric systems for commercial airline use, including its lithium-ion battery system. As far as eCTOL, Boeing — with JetBlue and much fanfare — invested millions of dollars into Zunum Aero in 2017 to build a 12-seat, hybrid-electric aircraft for short-haul passenger service. However, today Zunum has all-but folded. Boeing has Uber Elevate partner Aurora Flight Sciences as a subsidiary and teamed with Kitty Hawk for its Cora eVTOL program, but does not appear to have an active eCTOL program underway. The Airbus E-Fan  also has a history that puts the electric air-mobility race in perspective. After teaming with Siemens on early demonstration projects, Airbus developed its all-electric, all-composite E-Fan two-seater. The Airbus E-Fan first flew in 2014 and the company began designing production versions. Airbus also planned a 90-seat regional jet, the E-Thrust, but each of these projects were abandoned. Instead, Airbus started the E-Fan X project in November 2017 as an eCTOL testbed for the European Commission’s Flightpath 2050 initiative. Airbus, along with partners Rolls-Royce and Siemens, are converting a British Aerospace BAe 146 regional jet to hybrid-electric power. However, in June, Siemens sold its electric aircraft propulsion unit to Rolls-Royce, thus signaling a shift in the electric aviation Tier 1 supply chain. Airbus is also working on a smaller hybrid design. The Airbus Ecopulse  is a French team effort with aircraft manufacturer Daher and turbine producer Safran. Safran will develop the distributed hybrid system and converting the single-engine Daher TBM into a hybrid platform. The system consists of a turbine and power generator (together, a “turbogenerator”), an electric power management system, and integrated electric propellers. The aircraft itself will be modified with reduced wing surface area and drag. Airbus will handle aerodynamic optimization of the propulsion system and high-energy-density batteries installation. Daher will handle the installation of components and systems, flight testing, regulatory approvals and construction. Airbus also …

Kitty Hawk Announcements

On June 25, The Boeing Company and Kitty Hawk Corporation announced a strategic partnership to collaborate on future efforts to advance safe urban air mobility (UAM). The strategic partnership will bring together the innovation of Kitty Hawk’s Cora division with Boeing’s scale and aerospace expertise. Cora is a two-seat, lift-plus-cruise eVTOL that is currently being tested unmanned in New Zealand. In addition, the company tweeted on Aug. 15 that its single-seat eVTOL Flyer had flown more than 25,000 times.

Electric Aircraft Symposium 2019 Synopsis

The Vertical Flight Society co-sponsored the CAFE Foundation’s 13th Annual Electric Aircraft Symposium, held July 20-21, 2019, at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. EAS 2019 was held in conjunction with the Experimental Aviation Association’s annual AirVenture in Oshkosh, July 22-28 (see eVTOL News from AirVenture). Two dozen of the world’s leading electric aircraft developers and technology experts spoke at EAS 2019, all of which are available for free viewing in 26 videos on the VFS YouTube Channel. Don’t have time to watch all the videos? We’ve summarized the key points for each speaker, below, under the link to each video. EAS 2019 #1 – Yolanka Wulff & Mike Hirschberg – Introduction & The Electric VTOL Revolution INTRODUCTION & STATE OF THE INDUSTRY SESSION Yolanka Wulff, Executive Director, CAFE Foundation Mike Hirschberg, Executive Director, Vertical Flight Society Yolanka Wulff, Executive Director of the CAFE Foundation welcomed speakers and guests to the 13th Annual Electric Aircraft Symposium (EAS) in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on July 20-21, 2019. VFS Executive Director Mike Hirschberg spoke about “The VTOL Revolution” and what the VFS has been doing to advance the eVTOL industry and technology, and become the de facto industry eVTOL society. As of July 2019, more than 50 VFS corporate members are now engaged in eVTOL aircraft development and the VFS added the 191st eVTOL aircraft program to its authoritative World eVTOL Aircraft Directory. The Directory provides comprehensive information on 67 Vectored Thrust, 26 Lift + Cruise, 46 Wingless (Multicopters), 38 Hover Bikes/Flying Devices, and 14 eHelos & eGyros aircraft. Hirschberg explained why eVTOL development is surging today and how the challenges are similar to those the pioneers of the US helicopter industry faced in 1943 when the VFS (then known as the American Helicopter Society) was established to advance the technology and acceptance of the helicopter and create a robust vertical flight technical community. EAS 2019 #2 – Ryan Naru – UberAir eVTOL Concepts STATE OF THE INDUSTRY SESSION Ryan Naru, Vehicle Standards Engineer, Uber Elevate Naru began his presentation by outlining what Uber is looking for in an eVTOL aircraft for its Elevate aerial ride share network. The Uber Elevate white paper was released in October 2016 and signaled Uber’s intent to be a “motivator in this industry” which was followed by the first Uber Elevate conference in April 2017. In 2018, Uber began using its “flux” data tool to understand how commuter traffic flows through cities and released its eVTOL vehicle requirements to partner OEMs. In July 2019, Uber Copter started multi-modal helicopter service linking Manhattan with JFK Airport. The first UberAir eVTOL demonstration flights are scheduled to begin in 2020 with initial certified operations expected in 2023. The company plans to expand and optimize its network by 2026, and then increase scale as second …

VFS Wheel of eVTOL presented by Mark Moore at Uber Elevate 2019

Uber Elevate Summit 2019 News, Photos & Videos

Uber held its third annual Elevate Summit on June 11-12 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC. VFS was there in force, live-tweeting the event ( and posting photos real-time on Twitter and Facebook. VFS has an album of 60 pictures from the event in the Vertical Flight Photo Gallery. According to the company, “The Uber Elevate Summit brought together 1200+ attendees for 2 days of technical sessions, hands-on demos, and evening networking events.” A full listing of the featured speakers, agenda and more is available on their Summit 2019 webpage; this includes a summary of the speakers and the full Uber Elevate agenda and all videos (including hidden videos). Major announcements from Uber Elevate 2019 are included below. Uber Uber is hiring in NYC to build out its “air operations center” [with helicopters to learn more about flying air taxis], Fast Company, June 5, 2019 Day 1 Uber Elevate Summit 2019 livestream video on YouTube, June 11, 2019 Day 2 Uber Elevate Summit 2019 livestream video on YouTube, June 12, 2019 Highlights: Uber Elevate Summit 2019 YouTube playlist (all), June 11-12, 2019. Individual video links: UBER AIR: The Future of Airborne Travel [1:46] UBER AIR: Delivering Uber Eats with Drones [3:23] UBER AIR: Our Vision [3:33] UBER AIR: 360 Video [4:05] Uber Elevate Summit 2019: Day 1 [3:09] Introducing JUMP Bike 5.8 and JUMP Scooter v2 [0:38] Self Driving Technology at Scale [0:42] Designing for Aerial Ridesharing [0:45] Customer-Obsessed Design for Aerial Ridesharing [16:25] Standing for Safety with Uber CLO Tony West [9:35] Urban Air Mobility – Closer Than You Think [36:06] Announcing the First Uber Air Market Outside the US [0:36] Urban Aviation in the US [29:21] UBER AIR: eVTOL Concepts [0:44] EVP Technology and Innovation [0:38] Announcing Uber’s New Vehicle Partner [15:12] Energy Storage for Urban Aviation [0:40] FAA Acting Administrator Dan Elwell Discusses Safety [20:26] Pipistrel Vertical Solutions [8:57] Boeing and the Future of Aviation Innovation [11:36] The full Uber Elevate agenda and all videos (including hidden videos) Jaunt Uber adds another air taxi vehicle partner to the mix, June 11, 2019 Honeywell and Jaunt Air Mobility to Collaborate on Urban Air Mobility Technologies, June 11, 2019 Jaunt Air Mobility Selects Triumph Aerospace Structures to Provide Engineering Services on eVTOL Vehicle, June 11, 2019 Tweet: “25% Scale Model of #JauntAir at the #UberElevate summit. Demonstrator expected in 2023!” June 15, 2019 Infrastructure Partners AT&T and Uber Working to Boost Commercial Air Service, AT&T, June 11, 2019

eVTOL Corporate Directory

Listed below are 70+ Vertical Flight Society (VFS) corporate members which work in all aspects of eVTOL aircraft development (aircraft, software, engines, simulations, universities, etc.). Our corporate members have an unprecedented opportunity to network and engage with all levels of the rotorcraft technical community, including industry, academia and government. More than 100 VTOL companies and organizations have joined the Vertical Flight Society (VFS). Please go to to be part of the world’s largest organization supporting vertical flight technology. Aircraft Developers A³ by Airbus 225 W Santa Clara St, San Jose, CA 95113 Aircraft: Vahana Airbus Helicopters F-13725 Marignane Cedex, Aéroport International Marseille-Provence, France Aircraft: Airbus CityAirbus, Pop.Up Next Airspace Experience Technologies, LLC 11499 Conner Street, Detroit, Michigan 48213 USA Aircraft: AirspaceX MOBi Aurora Flight Sciences 9950 Wakeman Drive, Manassas, Virginia 20110 USA Aircraft: Aurora eVTOL AutoflightX GmbH Friedrichshafener Str. 1, Gilching 82205 Germany Aircraft: AutoFlightX BAT600 Bartini, Inc. 19421 Phil Lane, Cupertino, California 95014 USA Aircraft: Bartini Flying Car Bell 3255 Bell Flight Boulevard, Fort Worth, Texas 76118 USA Aircraft: Bell Nexus Beta Technologies, Inc. 265 Aviation Ave, South Burlington, Vermont 05403 USA Aircraft: Ava XC Carter Aviation Technologies, LLC 2730 Commerce Street, Suite 600, Wichita Falls, Texas 76301 USA Aircraft: Carter Aviation Air Taxi Kitty Hawk Corporation 2700 Broderick Way, Mountain View, California 94043 USA Aircraft: Kitty Hawk Cora, Kitty Hawk Flyer Jaunt Air Mobility, LLC Aircraft: Jaunt Joby Aviation 340 Woodpecker Ridge, Santa Cruz, California 95060 USA Aircraft: Joby S4 Karem Aircraft, Inc. 1 Capital Drive, Lake Forest, California 92630 USA Aircraft: Karem Butterfly Leonardo Helicopters 3050 Red Lion Road, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19114 USA Aircraft: AgustaWestland Project Zero (defunct) * Formerly AgustaWestland. LIFT Aircraft Inc. 3402 Mount Bonnell Road, Austin, Texas 78731 USA Aircraft: Hexa Lilium GmbH Gilching, Bavaria 82205 Germany Aircraft: Lilium Jet Neoptera Aero Ltd 24 Rock Lane, Stoke Gifford, Bristol BS348PF United Kingdom Aircraft: Neoptera eOpter NFT Inc. 4653 Table Mountain Drive, Golden, Colorado 80403 USA Aircraft: NFT ASKA eVTOL Piasecki Aircraft Corporation Second Street West, PO Box 360, Essington, Pennsylvania 19029-0360 USA Aircraft: Piasecki eVTOL Pipistrel Vertical Solutions d.o.o. Vipavska cesta 2, Ajdovscina 5270 Slovenia Aircraft: Pipistrel Sabrewing Aircraft Company, Inc. 275 Durley Avenue, Unit H-3, Hangar 2, Camarillo Airport, Camarillo, California 93010 USA Aircraft: Sabrewing Draco-2 UAS Sikorsky, A Lockheed Martin Company 6900 Main Street, Stratford, Connecticut 06601 USA Aircraft: Sikorsky VERT Skyworks Global 9980 South 300 West, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, Utah 84070 USA Terrafugia, Inc. 23 Rainin Road, Woburn, Massachusetts 01801 USA Aircraft: Terrafugia TF-X Transcend Air Corporation 779 West Street, Carlisle, Massachusetts 01741 USA Aircraft: Vy400 Uber 1455 Market Street, Suite 400, San Francisco, California …