A lot of personal flying machines are in the works right now, but this one from Washington-based startup Zeva Aero surely features one of the most extraordinary designs yet.
The Zeva Zero aircraft comprises a large black disc with eight rotors attached and resembles a “vertical flying saucer,” Reuters reported this week.
A video (below) shows the electric-powered Zeva Zero acing its first untethered test flight earlier this year. Current test flights are crewless and remotely operated, but the team hopes to fly it with a human pilot soon.
While the vehicle adopts an upright position during takeoff and landing, the Zeva Zero is actually designed to lean forward when it picks up speed, a maneuver that’s sure to make it look even more like a flying saucer.
The unique aircraft is designed to hit speeds of 160 mph and has a range of 50 miles. As it can take off and land vertically, no airstrip is required, making it ideal for trips to and from urban centers.
Founded in 2018, Zeva Aero was a finalist in Boeing’s 2020 GoFly contest that encourages engineers to design and build personal flying machines. The company also showcased the aircraft in a tethered flight at the Dubai Air Show last November.
Stephen Tibbitts, co-founder and chief executive of Zeva Aero, said the company envisions its flying machine being used by first responders, giving them a quick way to reach the scene of an emergency.
The engineer and trained pilot said that if it can commercialize the vehicle, it would likely come with a price tag of around $250,000, putting it well out of reach of regular folks.
The aircraft will also need the nod from regulators who will want to be assured of the aircraft’s safety if it’s ever to fly freely in the skies.