KittyHawk Corporation To End Operations


Urban air mobility (UAM) company KittyHawk Corporation announced on Wednesday that it will be closing its doors. Founded in 2010 by Sebastian Thrun, the company was backed by Google co-founder Larry Page. KittyHawk’s designs include the Flyer ultralight, Cora autonomous air taxi and Heaviside remotely piloted electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, which was selected as a finalist for the 2019 Robert J. Collier Trophy.

“We have made the decision to wind down Kittyhawk,” the company said via Twitter. “We’re still working on the details of what’s next.”

An exact closing date for the company was not announced. KittyHawk’s joint venture with Boeing, Wisk, is expected to continue operations with the companies releasing their UAM operations concept laying out “the technology, regulatory and social recommendations needed to deploy Urban Air Mobility (UAM) in the United States and integrate it into the national airspace system” earlier this week. Wisk is developing the Cora air taxi, which has been flying since 2018.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. There are lots of $$$$$ being speculated in the bleeding edge of electric aircraft and autonomous drones. I think I’d do better to invest on the tables in Vegas. EV automobiles are a risky enough bet, aircraft are a long way off if ever in my lifetime.

  2. So, the video game generation have the solution for electric aviation. Not only that, but they also know the technology, regulations and social recommendations for it in the U.S. WOW! arrogance comes in at lighting bolt speed. That’s when ideologies take place instead of incremental research and development into an area that is so volatile right now. Boeing is involved! Imagine that! They cannot even resolve their problems with the 7XXs, can’t launch a rocket into low orbit without any issues, yea! let’s develop that too! one more disaster into the aviation community… what a joke. Well, reality speaks for itself.

  3. When the US went to the Alphabet airspace, they ruled these things out. Helicopter routes could be made for them, but it is too little too late.

    • I wish they’d leave things alone. They have to change names, procedures and airspace boundaries just when you get used to the last changes. In the Air Force, our running joke about the Global Map displayed on our flight operations wall, labeled “The World”, was appended with “See SAC Supplement One”.

  4. “There WILL be more” as these “concept only” breathless announcements cease operations. The only difference is that unlike Kittyhawk, most simply are never heard from again.

    On the OTHER side of the equation–“presented for your amusement”–the SKY HOTEL–via Aviation Week.

    It’s a nuclear powered Super-Giant airliner with 30 or 40 electric engines that can stay aloft for a decade–capable of carrying 5000 passengers. Watch the 4 minute movie–“sky solariams”–hotel suites, multiple restaurants and bars….The video shows tiny (by comparison) 747s ferrying passengers, crew, and supplies to it–flying in formation and “docking” with the Sky Hotel.

    Like the breathless announcements of “the next big thing” in electric aircraft–the prospects of its development are slim. Rather than taking up space on the AvWeb site for “concept-only” aircraft–how about creating a link to a separate site for “in development” aircraft?

  5. You can fool some of the people all the time (including some AvWeb readers), and all the people some of the time (probably not AvWeb readers), but eventually even the most ignorant, woke, virtue signaling, investors eventually figure out that this whole aero EV issue is a bad investment with no reasonable time chance of success. This usually happens a few years after the news releases stop, and after $ millions are squandered.

  6. Battery fires on electric cars and scooters are pretty spectacular. Can you imagine an inflight fire on a UAM? Can you say Hindenburg?

  7. Frankly that’s something I consider. I’ve seen too many You Tube videos of burning Teslas already. Sometimes the car is just siting there and commits suicide.

    Chevy had to tell owners of the Bolt EV to not park the car in the garage as they are prone to catching fire also and burning the house down. Granted, a better car than a Tesla but still…

    I know gasoline is also flammable but needs a source of ignition and oxygen to burn. EV’s just sometimes burn on their own. Thermal runaway is a bitch.

    • Lithium Iron and Lithium Ion are not the same. Although the general heading, Lithium Ion, Can be used to include any battery that is labelled Lithium Iron. Confused? So was I.

  8. If the market is functioning as it should, then this is just an example of a failed business model. I’m convinced there is technology today–on the shelf–that will carry America’s transportation industry into the next century, and beyond. All those innovators need is a clear field to run with their ideas, prototypes and product marketing to introduce those technologies. Americans still possess the know-how to develop viable energy sources and transportation systems to wean our nation from foreign oil, foreign influences, and “Globalist” schemes.

  9. “Americans still possess the know-how to develop viable energy sources and transportation systems to wean our nation from foreign oil, foreign influences, and “Globalist” schemes.”

    We have a viable energy source. Its beneath the feet of Texans, Oklahomans, Alaskans, and Californians. Also NM, CO, ND round out the list of the 7 most productive states.

    • True, but there were other means to propel aircraft and vehicles. My concern is that we’re dependent upon your resource being obtained from foreign countries, particularly in the Middle East. Our leaders should never be traveling hat-in-hand to foreign countries to gain supplies of energy sources we have in abundance within our own regions.

      • Yes, there is oil in the Middle East–but there are a lot of “dead dinosaurs” locked up underground in friendly Canada and other friendly countries as well.

        Converting to limited and unproven electric airplanes will be dangerous, expensive, limiting, and COSTLY–and as the price of petroleum goes up, less of it will be used for non-mobile uses (example: more electric utilities will use non-petroleum generation sources instead of petroleum). If there is a shortage of petroleum, basic human self-interest will explore for MORE of it.

        America has succeeded because the marketplace has been free from most government intervention. Imagine if government had mandated in 1900 that “Autocars must be powered by electricity”–we would still be riding in steam trains today.

        • America has also been successful because people like those on this page could not use government to stop people like Google cofounders from investing in crazy ideas.

          Those days have in many ways passed. And it’s a shame.

      • “Our leaders should never be traveling hat-in-hand to foreign countries to gain supplies of energy sources we have in abundance within our own regions.”

        Twenty months ago they weren’t.

  10. We agree on this also. With that said we DO have the ability to be energy independent. It’s a matter of thoughtful drilling, production, and distribution.

    Some day, in the distant future we will exhaust the resource. Before that time alternatives can be developed when the technology exists. Forcing an undeveloped product on the people by the government will continue to harm our economy.

  11. It was only a little over 100 years ago that naysayers were poo-pooing the idea that gas engine vehicles would ever replace horses. We’re at the same early developmental point now with electric airplanes and cars, and given the vast amount of money going into EV research now, I think it will be only a short time – a few years, probably – before EV or other advanced technology will make internal combustion engines an artifact of “the old days.”

  12. Horses have not been replaced. I see them every day in eastern Washington.

    Money does not change physics or the properties of the elements in the periodic table.

    As I have said before the problem is not the motor the impass is the battery.

    HFC or turbine-electric could be made to work but would likely be more expensive heavier and more complex than existing power plants.