Two eVTOLs You Can Buy and Fly Now

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Two eVTOLs (electric Vertical Take Off and Landing) aircraft are available for purchase right now, presenting owners with potential thrills 20 minutes at a time.  One delivers wind between the toes (if you’re wearing sandals) and the other keeps you dry and even allows water landings.  In airplane economics, they offer “affordable” flying.

Though different in appearance and aerodynamics, both machines have triple-redundant flight controls and intrinsic safety features that enable the manufacturers to offer them with relatively few restrictions and fairly easy training sessions.

Both qualify as hover bikes/personal flying devices in the listings of the over 600 aerial electric vehicles.  Both have eight motors and a battery pack that allows about 20 minutes of flight.

We’ve turned to the eVTOL News from the Vertical Flight Society for many of the details on each machine.

Jetson One

An early video of a Jetson One dashing over a desert so enraptured Stephen Colbert two years ago he was begging for his credit card on his late-night TV show.  We don’t know if the comedian is one of the over 420 early adopters who’ve plunked down an $8,000 non-refundable deposit so far.

But enough eager buyers have signed on the dotted line that production is sold out through 2025.  Try not to put on any pounds (over the 220 allowed for a One pilot) before taking delivery of your Jetson One in 2026.  To make it easy for you, we’re providing a link to the order form here.

The $92,000 that had Colbert excited has risen to $128,000, still cheap in airplane bucks, although the price doesn’t include “taxes and other fees.”  Jetson cautions, “A final payment of the $120,000 will be required when your Jetson ONE is ready for delivery at the factory.”  Jetson promises, “Our Sales Representative will contact you as soon as possible to discuss all payment and delivery details.”

Delivery at the factory could mean buyers can look forward to a trip to Italy to meet their latest acquisition.  The trip can include familiarization and flight training.

How does one get it home?  Not a lot bigger than a motorcycle, Jetson shipping should not be that enormous a problem, although customs duties and other fees might add to a grander than planned total.

If the desire to buzz your neighbors on the way to work still tempts you, Jetson allows credit cards and wire transfers to order.

Pivotal Helix

A complete change of brand and product names seems like a good marketing move if it clears obscurity and diminishes queasiness.  “Opener” and “Blackfly” didn’t put sales-worthy images in one’s head, but “Pivotal” does seem to represent the upward swivel that allows it to lift skyward, and the reverse twist that enables it to sink to its landing point, where it rolls onto its round belly.  Helix adds to the twisty-turny image.

Pricing is a bit stiffer than that for the Jetson.  For the last several years, we have tried to sort out what “the price of an RV” meant – as noted in early promotional releases.  Was this a little camper top type RV one might place on a pickup bed, or a rolling palace fit for a person of high judicial standing?  The $190,000 asking price indicates something in the high “B-class” rankings, or the low end of “A-class” RVs.  The price is definitely not the $42,000 rumored about a few years ago.  Higher-priced “packages include a trailer and other gear, and run up to $260,000.

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) reports, “Training with Pivotal is required to complete a Helix purchase and features hands-on simulator and flight training.”

Pivotal Helix with trailer. Assembly and disassembly take about 20 minutes, according to factory.
Image courtesy of Pivotal

Making initial outlay a little easier, you can place an  online $250 nonrefundable application fee. But, you must then make a deposit of $50,000 “within five business days of the order to secure a production slot and ship date.”

Not the extremely airiness of the Jetson, the Helix cocoons its occupant in carbon-fiber protectiveness, with a large Plexiglas bubble through which to view the outside world.  Several TV personalities and others have videos of them lifting off and hovering around a small area, something the electronic controls enable.  Jetson and Pivotal have IMU’s, Inertial Measurement Units, which combine inputs from gyros, Accelerometers and compass to keep things on an even keel and simplify pilot input.  Each has a final option ballistic parachute that will lower the entire package to terra firma.

 Final Thoughts

Intense  interest in these machines and in the Lift Hexa seem to be propelling them to widespread acceptance.  They are (so far) the least costly personal flying machines (other than more conventional ultralight aircraft), with the Lift Hexa hovering over all at $495,000.  Now let’s see a proven safety record and demonstrated performance by the new buyers to help increase that acceptance.

Lift Hexa has 18 motors and battery packs, but price tag of $495,000

One final note: batteries are getting better.  Your editor doesn’t have to be a prophet to foresee new packs doubling or even tripling flight times and ranges.  That should enliven the market even more.

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