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Pivotal Helix (production model)

Pivotal Helix passenger eVTOL production model aircraft

 

Helix (production model)
Pivotal
Palo Alto, California, USA
www.pivotal.aero

Pivotal was founded in 2011 in Warkworth, Ontario, Canada by Marcus Leng and is backed by Google co-founder Larry Page. The company's headquarters are now located in Palo Alto, California, USA. The company's original name was SkyKar and that name was eventually changed to Opener Aero. Opener Aero's name was change to Pivotal in October 2023. The company is in the business of designing and manufacturing passenger electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for advanced air mobility (AAM).

On October 5, 2011, Canadian engineer Leng made the first crewed flight (a 20 second flight) of the company's proof of concept electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft in the small town of Warkworth, Canada. This was the first crewed flight of a fixed-wing eVTOL aircraft, according the company's website. This event prompted the formation of a stealth company with the sole purpose of pursuing the development of this novel technology. In September of 2014, the company reorganized as Opener Aero and relocated the majority of its operations to Silicon Valley in California (USA) continue its business.

Helix passenger eVTOL production model aircraft
The Helix is a one passenger eVTOL production model fixed rotors tilt aircraft with a canopy over the cockpit. The aircraft is flown using a joystick with fly-by-wire controls flight panel instruments, in-flight navigation and aircraft status. The aircraft has a landing camera, ADS-B transponder and beacon lights. The aircraft is Pivotal's first production aircraft and is classified under Part 103 ultralight under the rules of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), United States.

The cruise speed of the aircraft is 63 mph (101 km/h) and has a range of 20+ miles (32+ km). The maximum climb and descent rate is 500 fpm (152 mpm). The aircraft has tandem wings and has a total of eight propellers and eight electric motors. Each wing has a four propellers. The aircraft is powered by battery packs. The Level 1 charging time is 4.5 hours and Level 2 charging is 75 minutes. The aircraft has a total of 8 kWh electric storage.

The empty weight of the aircraft is 348 lb (158 kg), has a maximum payload weight of 220 lb (100 kg) and has maximum takeoff weight 568 lb (258 kg). The aircraft dimensions are 13 feet 7 inches wide, by 13 feet 5 inch long, 5 feet 3 inch high. A single wing area is 33.13 feet 2 inches. The noise during cruise is 72 dBa at 150 ft (46 m). The aircraft has fixed strut landing gear.

The company's app (January 2024) features:

  • Preflight Features: Smart checklists and aircraft status
  • Navigation Tools: Flight planning, navigational charts
  • Flight Analytics: Flight review and stats and telemetry
  • Support and Community: Customer support, service inquiries, pilot forum
  • Mobile Device Compatibility: Supports iOS 16+

The aircraft can land on a paved surface, grass, snow and ice. The aircraft can make emergency water landings. The aircraft has auto-takeoff and auto-land features. In addition, there is flight envelope protection and position hold in a hover. The aircraft has triple redundant flight control systems. There is also a whole aircraft emergency ballistic parachute in case of an unexpected inflight emergency. The aircraft after disassembly fits into a 16 foot trailer. The aircraft can be disassembled or assembled in 30 minutes. The company is taking orders for the Helix on their website the starting price in October 2023 is $190,000.00 USD before taxes, delivery or other fees, as applicable.

Helix eVTOL production model front view

Helix eVTOL production model front view

Helix eVTOL production model side view

Helix eVTOL production model side view

Specifications:

  • Aircraft type: One passenger eVTOL production model aircraft
  • Piloting: 1 pilot
  • Cruise speed: 63 mph (101 km/h)
  • Range: 20+ miles (32+ km)
  • Maximum climb and descent rate: 500 fpm (152 mpm)
  • Empty weight: 348 lb (158 kg)
  • Maximum payload weight: 220 lb (100 kg)
  • Maximum takeoff weight: 568 lb (258 kg)
  • Propellers: 8 propellers
  • Electric motors: 8 electric motors
  • Power source: Battery packs (8 kWh total storage)
  • Charging time: Level 1 charger: 4.5 hours, Level 2 charger: 75 minutes
  • Noise during cruise: 72 dBa at 150 ft (46 m)
  • Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
  • Window: Canopy over cockpit
  • Wings: Tandem wings
  • Landing gear: Fixed strut landing gear
  • Safety features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP) means having multiple propellers (or electric ducted fans) and multiple electric motors on an aircraft so if one or more propellers (or electric ducted fans) or some electric motors fail, the other working propellers (or electric ducted fans) and electric motors can safely land the aircraft. DEP provides safety through redundancy for its passengers or cargo. There are also redundancies of critical components in the sub-systems of the aircraft providing safety through redundancy for its passengers or cargo. Having multiple redundant systems on any aircraft decreases having any single point of failure. There is also a whole aircraft emergency ballistic parachute in case of an unexpected inflight emergency.

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