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WatFly Atlas

University of Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

WatFly is a student design team at the University of Waterloo (Canada) and is making a one (1) passenger autonomous long-duration electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft called the Atlas, which is designed for personal urban air transit.

The team's goal is to advance transportation to the point where it allows people to have very safe, personal urban flight. They propose that by making an eVTOL aircraft with the latest technology, the advantages will be as follows:

  • Smaller aircraft will be easier to certify and manufacture.
  • A company doesn't need large amounts of cash to make working aircraft due to newer existing and proven aviation drone technologies.
  • Using reliable electric motors will lower the weight of aircraft and it reduces complexity which lowers maintenance costs, reduces the costs to fly, reduces the cost of fuel, reduces pollution, reduces climate change, increases the reliability of the aircraft, which ultimately increases the safety factor greatly and keeps the cost down of flying for the passenger.
  • Fuel example. Reducing the cost of fuel. Electricity is approximately about half the cost of gasoline, and Avgas (aviation gas), can be $1 to $2 or $3 USD or more, per gallon (U.S.), than gasoline. In addition, powering a vehicle by electricity is very convenient. Whether you are in a remote area or urban area, electricity is usually available. There are less places to purchase Avgas or gasoline versus electrical outlets. This also reduces time finding the fuel for the aircraft.
  • Autonomous example: Reducing flight costs. Because the eVTOL aircraft will be an autonomous vehicle, this reduces the costs of hiring a pilot and hence keeps the cost per kilometer/mile to a minimum.
  • New navigation and stabilization technology makes the aircraft safer to fly, able avoid obstacles and even capable of autonomous flight.
  • Using little to no additional infrastructure allows travel to and from places where current infrastructure does not exist, is too congested or travel time is too long due to too many roads needed to make a one-way trip.
  • Cut your commute time by a factor of 10.
  • The goal of making the aircraft as affordable to operate as a car.

The team says the single seat aircraft will be made to be very easy to fly, it will have full sensors to avoid all objects, and will have an emergency ballistic parachute. They want to show to people around the world, that their eVTOL aircraft is a new way to fly.

The WatFly student design team is competing in the Go Fly Prize competition sponsored by Boeing. Watfly submitted a proposal for the Phase II GoFly Prize competition, but was not selected for an award.


  • 1 passenger aircraft
  • High Performance, All-Electric Powertrain
  • Vertical Take-Off and Landing
  • Two (2) brushless direct current motors (BLDC) output up to 150 kW (200 hp) of power
  • Proprietary Electric ducted fan units produce up to 350 kgf (760 lbf) of combined thrust
  • Wing-integrated 12 kWh lithium ion battery pack ensures up to one (1) hour flight time
  • As quiet as 87 dBA from 15.2 m (50 ft) away
  • Is legal under Ultralight Part 103 or Certifiable as an experimental aircraft as per the USA's FAA Part 103
  • Maximum speed: 102 km/h (55 kt/h, 63 mph)
  • Service Ceiling: 3,000 m (10,000 ft)
  • Unpressurized cabin
  • Full charge in under two (2) hours
  • Height: 2.5 m (8.2 ft)
  • Width: 1.3 m (4.1 ft)
  • Wingspan: 3.8 m (12.5 ft)
  • Dry mass: 130 kg (285 lbs)
  • Maximum payload: 90 kg (200 lbs)

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