Electric-powered ‘flying car’ unveiled at Springfield airport

An Austin-based company Friday showcased its “flying car” technology in Springfield, making it the first of that type of aircraft to come to the state.

“These type of electric multi-rotor autonomous aircraft are really, we believe, the future of flight. It is safer, lower cost and easy to fly, anyone can fly it,” said Matthew Chasen, the CEO of Lift Aircraft.

His company unveiled their electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle, also known as a flying car, at the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport. Chasen said that they will have at least one aircraft as well as a flight simulator at the airport that will be used for multiple phases of flight testing.

That testing and Lift’s presence at the airport is part of a larger effort by the Air Force to aid in the development of that type of technology, making the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport an important location for testing and research.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Lift joins BETA Technologies and Joby Aviation, two pioneer businesses in the field of electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft, in working with the Air Force as part of a project called Agility Prime.

Chasen said his company has developed a plan for the testing that will range from low altitude flights to flying higher, faster and further as well as deploying a ballistic parachute.

“This is one of the first aircraft in the world of its kind to enter production. There are a handful of companies that are developing different types of electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. There are all sorts of stages and configurations,” he said.

Chasen said the aircraft will be simple and small and will conform to the Federal Aviation Administration’s ultralight classification. It also does not require a pilots license to fly.

“This technology works like a drone. You just tell it where to go and the autopilot computer interprets your commands and adjust the RPM of the eclectic motors.”

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