Manned eVTOL Takes Test Hop In Japan


A Japanese company has completed what it says is the first manned test of a single-seat octocopter in the country. SkyDrive did a four-minute hop with the SD-03 electric VTOL vehicle at the Toyota Test Field on Aug. 28. The pilot was at the controls but computers helped him maintain stability. There were also backup remote-control pilots watching from the ground. The company says the SD-03 has a separate motor for each of the eight rotors, which work in counter-rotating pairs.

Size matters in crowded places like Japan and the company says the SD-03 has the smallest footprint of any manned eVTOL. The aircraft is 13 feet square and stands 6 feet high and “requires only as much space on the ground as two parked cars.” The company repeatedly refers to the aircraft as a “flying car” in its literature but it isn’t equipped to drive on the road. The company is hoping Japan’s aviation regulators will sign off on flights outside the testing field before the end of the year.

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.

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  1. This hasn’t even reached toy status yet. Until power density increases by a factor of about 10, this size craft won’t be practical. However think about the noise complaints and helicopter operations, and these things will be banned everywhere.

  2. Most likely comments from the same negative people who criticized electric cars and the GM EV1 in particular when it had a 58 mile range in 1996.

    Have an open mind, bashers.