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Heaviside takes a step forward for Agility Prime

20th July 2021 - 12:03 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Kitty Hawk has demonstrated automated and remote flight capabilities of the Heaviside eVTOL aircraft. (Photo: Kitty Hawk)

Flight tests of US electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft are about to enter the next stage.

The USAF has granted airworthiness approval to the Heaviside electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft under the AFWERX Agility Prime electric aircraft programme.

‘With this award, the Heaviside aircraft is able to enter its next phase of flight testing under Air Force direction,’ the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) announced on 16 July.

Flight tests under AFRL supervision aim to explore the unique attributes of Heaviside and its potential use by military and commercial operators.

Heaviside manufacturer Kitty Hawk is the fourth AFWERX Agility Prime partner to achieve airworthiness in less than 12 months.

Col Nathan Diller, director of AFWERX, said that airworthiness authorisation in the Agility Prime programme ‘not only unlocks the opportunity to begin Air Force directed flight tests, but it also shows the high level of maturity of this technology'.

AFWERX recently conducted its first medevac exercise with an eVTOL vehicle using Heaviside. The aircraft is designed to operate at a range of 100 miles (160km) on a single charge with sound levels of 38dB at 1,000ft. 

This means that Heaviside should be 100 times quieter than a conventional helicopter and requires half of the energy per mile of an electric car.

The eVTOL aircraft can be remotely piloted or operated in autonomous flight mode.

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