One-Seat eVTOL Needs No Certificate to Fly—and It’s Ready for Piloted Tests | eVTOL Video


There are thousands of Americans who have the flying bug but lack the time or energy to put in the hundreds of hours needed for a pilot certificate. But if they have the money, a personal aircraft for which the pilot needs no certification to fly just came closer to entering production.

Rotor X Aircraft, a 50-year-old manufacturer that primarily produces two-seat experimental kit helicopters, announced it will soon begin piloted flight testing of its preproduction Dragon: an ultralight, build-it-yourself, electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) design that can be flown without a certificate in the U.S.

The Chandler, Arizona-based company on Thursday shared a video of Dragon’s final unmanned flight tests, which took place earlier in the month. The preproduction prototype, unveiled to the public at EAA AirVenture in July, can be seen taking off, hovering, and cruising at low altitude over the Arizona desert. Not pictured are a ballistic chute and safety cage that will be included on the final production model.

According to Rotor X, these flights cleared the way for crewed testing to begin in early September. After that, the company plans to begin mass producing Dragon in March—if all goes well. Customers can pay a deposit of $19,500 to add their name to the preorder list. Deliveries are expected to begin next spring, and the full price of just under $90,000 will be due once they arrive.

Too Good to be True?

There are a few aircraft designs out there today that can be flown without a pilot certificate, such as the Aerolite 103, Quicksilver MX 103, or Phantom X1. But none have eVTOL capabilities.

So far, the FAA has struggled to chart the path for training and certifying eVTOL pilots. With Dragon, those prospective aviators may not need to worry about that portion of federal rulemaking, at…

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