The four-passenger craft Wisk Aero is referred to as a “candidate for FAA certification.”
The sixth-generation semi-autonomous air taxi from Wisk Aero has been launched, and the company describes it as the “first-ever contender for type certification by the FAA of an autonomous eVTOL.” The style appears to be a greatly improved rendition of the “Cora” air taxi, which we first saw fly and hover in New Zealand back in 2018. However, neither the firm nor the certification process were detailed, nor were any flights shown.
Wisk claims that the four-seat plane can travel between 2,500 and 4,000 feet above the earth while cruising at speeds between 110 and 120 knots (138 MPH). It is a 12-propeller VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft with tilting propulsion units in the front and fixed units for lift in the rear. According to a press release, it boasts a range of up to 90 miles, better handling, and more effective energy management than earlier models.
In the promotional movie (above), passengers are seen utilizing touchscreens to walk through a safety protocol demonstration while wearing seatbelts that resemble shoulder harnesses. Wisk asserts that there “fewer moving parts, no hydraulics, no oil and no fuel,” guaranteeing a flight that is safer. Additionally, it states that “designed to exceed today’s rigorous aviation safety standards of a one-in-a-billion chance of an accident.”
The business placed a strong emphasis on autonomous technology, claiming that they see it as the “key” to air mobility. In order to accomplish this, they plan to have better sensors to recognize and avoid impediments, as well as “multi-vehicle supervisors that offer human monitoring of every flight” and can take over in an emergency.
According to Wick, the new car is a contender for FAA certification, which would let it carry people within the US. Nevertheless, obtaining that coveted piece of paper is a difficult task even for renowned aircraft manufacturers like Boeing employing conventional aircraft designs — never mind a startup company with a completely unique form of aircraft that has never carried passengers.
The recent announcement of the closure of Larry Page’s aviation company Kittyhawk is a clear sign of the difficulties facing this industry. After Kittyhawk and Boeing collaborated on the fifth-generation Cora aircraft, Wick essentially grew out of that business.
Not just Wick is committed to seeing this air taxi project through. Earlier this year, Joby got FAA approval for its air taxi services, enabling it to conduct business. It still requires FAA clearance for its prototype aircraft before it can really transport people; this simply allows it to begin testing its services.