LIFT Aircraft Inc.
Austin, Texas, USA
Austin, Texas-based LIFT Aircraft started their project in Oct. 2017 in Budapest, revealed itself on Dec. 11, 2018 to the public through social media and news articles, and made its first public appearance at the SXSW (South By Southwest) 2019 Conference and Festivals held in March in Austin, Texas, USA. The LIFT HEXA (originally the "Hexa") is an all-electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) single-passenger wingless multicopter ultralight aimed primarily at tourism and short distance travel. The HEXA aircraft was designed by Robert Kovacs, who is based in Hungary.
LIFT was founded by Matt Chasen, a serial entrepreneur, investor and adventure sports enthusiast. While getting his MBA at the University of Texas at Austin in 2003, Chasen founded uShip — the first and largest online marketplace for shipping which today has over $200 M in annual gross sales.
The HEXA Cargo multicopter is a remote or autonomous piloted heavy-lift eVTOL drone specifically designed for military use. The drone has 18 independently controlled propellers and 18 electric motors mounted on a motor strut assembly resembling a web of six inward-pointing sectors with twelve outer and six inner electrically-powered propellers. This allows the aircraft to be controlled by varying the individual motor speed for each propeller.
The aircraft uses a differential global positioning system (GPS) for navigation. It provides autonomous flight capabilities with the help of an autopilot computer that receives manual inputs from a single three-axis joystick. The eVTOL incorporates networking capabilities to achieve geo-sphere collision avoidance. Its collision avoidance capabilities are further strengthened by a ground-based radar. Take-offs and landings can be automated with precision and the vehicle can be switched to "return to home" mode when the battery is low.
The maximum payload weight of the cargo is unknown but it might carry over 250 lbs (113 kg) of cargo. The cargo is loaded and unloaded by electric winch using electromagnetic conic clamps. There is an onboard camera directly above the cargo hold area which faces downward so the cargo delivery can be recorded and operators can view the status of the cargo when loading, flying and unloading. For landing, the drone will either sport six landing legs or have fixed-skid landing gear. There is also a ballistic parachute in case of a catastrophic failure of the drone.
Testing the aircraft will take place on the company's facilities and possibly on military bases. More information about the HEXA Cargo drone is anxiously awaited from LIFT aircraft as the cargo drone deliver service can be used for both civilian and military use.
For detailed information on LIFT Aircraft's HEXA modular commercial passenger multicopter, please see the HEXA Electric VTOL News web page here.
- Aircraft type: Heavy-lift eVTOL multicopter cargo aircraft
- Piloting: Remote or autonomous
- Capacity: Cargo loaded and unload by electric winch using electromagnetic conic clamps
- Cruise speed: Unknown
- Maximum flying time: Unknown
- Empty weight: Unknown
- Payload weight: Unknown [possibly more than 250 lb (113 kg)]
- Propellers: 18 propellers
- Electric Motors: 18 electric motors
- Power source: Batteries
- Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
- Landing gear: 6 landing legs or fixed-skid landing gear
- Safety Features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), provides safety through redundancy for its passengers and/or cargo. DEP means having multiple propellers and motors on the aircraft so if one or more motors or propellers fail, the other working motors and propellers can safely land the aircraft. Has an autonomous ballistic parachute in case of a multiple rotor failure.
- LIFT Aircraft website
- LIFT Aircraft Facebook
- LIFT Aircraft Twitter
- LIFT Aircraft Instagram
- LIFT Aircraft LinkedIn
- Video: LIFT Aircraft, LIFT Aircraft, Dec. 10, 2018
- Article: Lift Aircraft’s Hexa may be your first multirotor drone ride, TechCrunch, Dec. 11, 2018
- LIFT Aircraft Press Release, Dec. 11, 2018
- Article: Lift unveils an ultralight aircraft made for fun flights, with Seattle on its radar screen, GeekWire, Dec. 11, 2018
- Article: LIFT Aircraft unveils new eVTOL aircraft, Aerospace Technology, Dec. 13, 2018
- Article: Thrill-seekers will be able to pilot themselves in a giant drone as soon as 2019, Digital Trends, Dec. 14, 2018
- Video: LIFT Aircraft Hexa Public Unveiling SXSW 2019, LIFT Aircraft, Mar. 21, 2019
- Video: CNBC: "WHAT"S HOT AT SXSW 2019", LIFT Aircraft, Mar. 28, 2019
- Video: CNBC: LIFT at SXSW, LIFT Aircraft, Mar. 28, 2019
- Article: LIFT’s Hexa Lifts Off, Vertiflite, Mar/Apr 2019
- Article: Maform wins award for eVTOL aircraft design, Budapest Business Journal, May 24, 2019
- Article: Lift Aircraft reports progress on eVTOL testing, with Austin launch (and Seattle stopover) in mind, GeekWire, Sept. 12, 2019
- Article: Lift Aircraft says 13,000 people have signed up for drone rides; flights begin in beta mode in Texas, Geek Wire, Dec. 11, 2019
- Article: Wrapping Up 2020 - A message from LIFT CEO, Matt Chasen, LIFT Aircraft, Dec. 29, 2020
- Article: LIFT Hexa Update, Electric VTOL News, Jan. 7, 2020
- Article: LIFT Aircraft’s HEXA Gets a Boost, Electric VTOL News, Aug. 24, 2020
- Article: This company is selling $500,000 flying vehicles that look like giant drones and can be flown without a pilot's license, Business Inside, Sept. 27, 2020
- Article: LIFT Aircraft boss: Progress at the Pentagon from the view of a startup, Defense News, Dec. 6, 2021
- Article: LIFT Aircraft continues eVTOL flight tests with US Air Force, eVTOL Magazine, Apr. 8, 2022
- Article: LIFT Aircraft advances to Phase 3 contract with US Air Force, GPS World, Apr. 11, 2022
- Article: Pursuing alternative paths to bringing eVTOL aircraft to market, eVTOL Magazine, May 20, 2022