Kitty Hawk is the “flying car” company that’s financially backed by Google founder Larry Page, and today it has published the first video of its prototype aircraft. The company describes the Kitty Hawk Flyer as an “all-electric aircraft” that is designed to operate over water and doesn’t require a pilot’s license to fly. Kitty Hawk promises people will be able to learn to fly the Flyer “in minutes.” A consumer version will be available by the end of this year, the company says.
The video is part commercial and part test footage, starting with a lakeside conversation between friends about using the Flyer to meet up before switching to what The New York Times says are shots of an aerospace engineer operating the craft in Northern California.
Kitty Hawk hasn’t said exactly what the Flyer is for, nor has it set a price for the retail version. But the company is enticing eager pilots with a $100 three-year membership that offers priority placement on a waiting list, company-branded gear, and exclusive access to a flight simulator and company events. Members will also get a $2,000 discount off the eventual retail price.
The Flyer is considered to be an Ultralight aircraft per FAA regulations, which is why there’s no pilot’s license required. Kitty Hawk says that there are no plans to ship the vehicle outside the US.
Page also invested in another mysterious light aircraft offshoot of Kitty Hawk called Zee.Aero. But he’s hardly alone in his interest. Industry giants like Airbus have proposed multiple takes on a flying car, as have dozens of startups from around the world. And, coincidentally or not, Uber is holding a conference in Texas this week about its own flying car ambitions.