The FAA has accepted the type certification application for Workhorse’s hybrid-electric SureFly VTOL, the company announced on Wednesday. According to Workhorse, “the SureFly design appears to be the first hybrid-electric eVTOL multi-copter to reach this important milestone with the FAA.” As we previously reported, the company has said that its goal is to have the aircraft certificated by the end of 2020.
The SureFly, which is being developed as a manned aircraft, has not yet moved beyond hover testing. It completed its first untethered flight—shown in the video below—on April 30 and testing has continued since. The company told AVweb that further flight testing is scheduled for sometime in the next two weeks. The eight-motor SureFly has a 70-mile range, top speed of 70 MPH and 400-pound useful load. Its gas generator is paired with a lithium battery, which also provides five minutes of backup power.
“The FAA has yet to certify an aircraft like SureFly,” said Workhorse CEO Steve Burns. “We have been working closely with the FAA while we have been under our Experiment Certification status, and we feel that their acceptance of our Type Certification application represents a vote of confidence in our team, our product and the future of electric vertical take and landing aircraft here in the United States.” Burns says the SureFly is primarily intended for missions like emergency response, personal transport, precision agriculture or military support rather than the air taxi route many similar designs are taking. For more about the development of the SureFly and Workhorse’s plans for its future, check out this podcast.