The Air Force has granted airworthiness approval for KittyHawk’s Heaviside eVTOL, meaning the aircraft can now be put in revenue service. The pusher-configured, forward-swept wing aircraft, which can fly 100 miles at 180 MPH, can now be used for Air Force contracts. It’s actually the fourth design approved by the Air Force. Beta Technologies Alia, Joby Aviation and the Lift Hexa have all been approved for military roles.

The Heavyside is one of the smaller designs approved by the Air Force and its first assignments will likely be as a communications relay aircraft. It could also be used as a test bed for developing battlefield technologies. It might also have a more mundane role as a quick ride for essential personnel in isolated locations. Something the Air Force undoubtedly likes about the aircraft is that it’s relatively quiet, about 100 times quieter than a helicopter at a similar altitude, according to KittyHawk.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. “…about 100 times quieter than a helicopter…”

    Is that anything like “twice as small?” 😉

    • The video quotes numbers: 60dBA for a helicopter, 38 dbA for the Heaviside, in comparable conditions. dBA is a logarithmic measure, so the ratio of noise is 10**((38-60)/10) = approx 0.006. The Heaviside generates about 0.6% of the noise of a helicopter in those conditions. Sure, be snarky about the marketing copy using imprecise language, but give the video credit for providing more rigourous numbers for those who care enough to do the arithmetic.

  2. Looks like a practical and efficient design. Add a high-strung engine/generator inside and I’m in.
    Batteries for hover, climb, and backup.

  3. OK maybe this is splitting hairs but it’s only properly 100 times quieter if it’s the same weight as a Jetranger.

    But if it is a 3 surface design with power-out glide performance then it’s pretty much what seems to me like the ideal design. I was thinking lift fans on each wing tip for maximum redundancy, like a 6 fan commercial camera drone, but this seems close and might be more practical?