Zeva puts its Zero ‘flying saucer’ eVTOL through first free-flying test in a pasture south of Seattle

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Zeva’s Zero personal air vehicle takes a test flight in rural Pierce County, Wash. (Zeva via YouTube)

After years of effort, Tacoma, Wash.-based Jaeva has conducted the first uncontrolled, controlled flight test of its full-scale flying machine—a contraption that looks like a flying saucer.

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The demonstration was held on January 9 in a pasture in rural Pierce County, not far from Zeva’s headquarters. Over the course of four separate sorties, Zero aircraft added up to more than four minutes of controlled hovering, slow simulated taxiing maneuvers, and limited vertical-climb maneuvers.

Zeva’s flying saucer is an electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing craft, or eVTOL, powered by four pairs of rotors. It is designed to lift with one pilot vertically, and then transition to a horizontal orientation to fly at speeds of up to 160 mph with a range of up to 50 miles.

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Stephen Tibbits, CEO of Zeva, said, “This is a big turning point for Xeva as we join an exclusive set of proven flying EVTOL platforms, and a tribute to the tireless hard work and ingenuity of our entire team over the past two and a half years. Testament.” and President, said in a news release today,

The company traces its origins even further back—to the Boeing-backed $2 million GoFly Prize competition, which got off the ground in 2017. Zeva was one of the teams competing for the grand prize of $1 million, which it did not win in 2020.

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Despite the setbacks, Tibbits and his team continued to work on the Zero aircraft. In the past year, the company has made some major appointments, completed more than 50 successful tethered flights, Zero showcased at November’s Dubai Airshow, And Received a grant from the Joint Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation in Washington,

“The JAVA team has done an incredible job with the design and construction of this aircraft, which was evidenced in this exceptionally smooth and successful maiden flight,” said flight control engineer Gus Meyer.

A mannequin was placed inside the cockpit for the human pilot to stand in.

During a phone interview, Tibbits told GeekWire that the success of this week’s test sparked “a lot of excitement” among team members.

“We’ve been trying to take this hill for a long time,” Tibbits said. “Part of what I’m doing this week is saying, ‘Jeez, what’s next?’ Specifically, how to take the next hill.”

Once Tibbits and his teammates assess the results of the first flight test, they will aim to expand the envelope for further hover flight tests, and move on to transition-flight testing this spring.

Zeva a. is in the middle Equity Crowdfunding Campaign Which is being organized on the StartEngine platform. Eventually, the company plans to take pre-orders of the Xero for a $5,000 deposit, with a target price tag of $250,000 or less for the first production units.

“Our long-range target is consumer, but there’s a lot of icing to be done before that happens,” Tibbits said. An important step would be to get the flying saucer certified by the Federal Aviation Administration.

may well be the first customers first responders and emergency workers In areas where walking is particularly challenging. “Where there is no infrastructure, those types of vehicles are perfect,” Tibbits said.

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