- 31 Jan 2023 08:44 AM
SkyDrive Enters US eVTOL Market
SkyDrive will open a home base in South Carolina and intends to enter the US market for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. In an announcement on Jan. 24 at the Vertical Flight Society’s (VFS) 10th Annual eVTOL Symposium in Mesa, Arizona, SkyDrive said that South Carolina’s mild climate and its tourism and aerospace industries were among the factors that attracted it to the state. The company intends to work with several airports in the state, including the Columbia Metropolitan Airport and Greenville Downtown Airport, and with local flight operators to prepare for the launch of commercial eVTOL services in 2026.
SkyDrive, which is headquartered in Toyota City, Japan, first began its relationship with South Carolina in July 2022. Since then, the company has been working with the Beaufort County Economic Development Corporation to explore business opportunities in the state and develop a network of stakeholders. SkyDrive has studied potential use cases involving the state’s airports and its SD-05 eVTOL aircraft.
“The decision to make South Carolina our home base and our window into the US market was an easy one considering that it is a significant player in both the commercial and military aviation industries, and it is home to more than 400 aerospace and aviation companies including Boeing and Lockheed Martin,” said Tomohiro Fukuzawa, SkyDrive’s founder and CEO, in a statement. “I sincerely believe that the vast number of resources available in South Carolina will provide SkyDrive with a substantial platform that enables us to achieve our goals.”
SkyDrive was founded in 2018 and has produced several different types of eVTOL aircraft. The SD-05 is the company’s latest model and has a capacity of two passengers. According to the VFS World eVTOL Aircraft Directory, the SD-05 has 12 electric motors and a maximum cruise speed of 100 km/h (62 mph). SkyDrive unveiled the aircraft in September 2022 and intends to fly it at Expo 2025 in Osaka, Japan.
Held on Jan. 24–26 in Mesa, Arizona, the 10th Annual eVTOL Symposium is the world’s largest and longest-running event on eVTOL aircraft. It occurred in tandem with the 10th Biennial Autonomous VTOL Technical Meeting and featured nearly 100 speakers from industry, academia and government. The Vertical Flight Society, which has been leading efforts in eVTOL since 2013, has hosted the eVTOL Symposium since 2014 and organizes multiple other events on transformative technologies for aviation, including the upcoming hydrogen-focused H2-Aero Symposium.
VFS has made the full video of SkyDrive’s presentation at the Annual eVTOL Symposium available on its YouTube channel.
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