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 EMS two passenger (one pilot, one patient) amphibious concept design multicopter can be piloted with semi-autonomous assisted piloting to fully autonomous piloting. The multicopter 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 in any direction by varying the individual motor speed for each propeller.
Each motor has an underslung battery which the company says makes for quick battery changeouts between flights. This battery placement also puts the risk of fire away from the passenger(s) and under the propeller airflow. Having the batteries next to the electric motors also saves extra cabling weight. The HEXA’s all-carbon fiber airframe is supported by six perimeter floats allowing the aircraft to make both land and water landings.
As little training is needed to fly the aircraft, the pilot for the HEXA EMS will most likely be a paramedic, allowing the patent to be treated very quickly at the scene of the accident and then be quickly flown to the nearest hospital. The paramedic/pilot sits in the cockpit if the multicopter and the patient stretcher is securely attached to the bottom of the aircraft. When attached to the aircraft, the stretcher is protected on all sides by the six fixed landing pods.
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 advantage of the HEXA EMS multicopter is it has a smaller landing area than a helicopter needs and would be easier to land on a busy road in a downtown location, in a parking lot, a grassy area or on a highway with lots of traffic. HEXA EMS multicopters could be parked at hospitals throughout a city making it easy to pick-up accident victims close to each hospital shortening the travel time to the hospital and making transportation to a hospital very efficient.
As of May 2022, the company has not stated when a prototype type might be made and has not released any specifications for this aircraft, such as payload weight and the range of the aircraft.
For detailed information on LIFT Aircraft's HEXA modular commercial passenger multicopter, please see the HEXA Electric VTOL News web page here.
- Aircraft type: eVTOL emergency medical services multicopter aircraft
- Piloting: 1 paramedic/pilot (semi-autonomous piloting, autonomous piloting or by remote control)
- Capacity: 1 stretcher with patient
- Cruise speed: Unknown
- Maximum flying time: Unknown
- Empty weight: Unknown
- Payload weight: Unknown. Possibly more than 300 lb (136 kg).
- Propellers: 18 propellers
- Electric Motors: 18 electric motors
- Power source: Batteries
- Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
- Landing gear: 6 fixed landing pods
- 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