This company is selling $500,000 flying vehicles that look like giant drones and can be flown without a pilot's licence

Lift AircraftHexa.
  • Austin startup Lift Aircraft created Hexa, a flying vehicle that looks like a drone.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic postponed a planned national tour of the vehicle.
  • The company is selling a few Hexas for $US495,000 to be used as a rental.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Austin startup Lift Aircraft calls Hexa, its electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft the “future of personal flight. So far, it’s been compared to a drone and a flying car.

Hexa is essentially a recreational vehicle for the air, able to fly in 15-minute intervals at low altitudes. Lift plans to market them to millennials with disposable income and anyone chasing adrenaline, because a pilot’s licence isn’t required. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed plans, but Lift still says it will be touring locations across the US where anyone meeting height, weight, and age requirements can pay to fly. As of November 2019, Lift says it had more than 15,000 flights on a waitlist to ride Hexa.

The company is also selling a small number of Hexas to buyers who will then rent them out. They cost $US495,000, and only five are still available.

Here’s how they work.


Hexa flies through electric propulsion.

Lift AircraftHexa.

Its 18 separate electric propellers and motors move the vehicle through the air.

Lift AircraftHexa.

Five floats, one large one in the centre with four around the sides, provide buoyancy for water landings.

Lift AircraftHexa.

Hexa is surprisingly light, at only 432 pounds.

Lift AircraftHexa.

The frame is made entirely of carbon fibre.

Lift AircraftHexa.

The FAA qualified Hexa as “ultralight,” so no pilot’s licence is necessary for flying.

Lift AircraftHexa.

Instead, the autopilot computer with triple redundancies flies the vehicle, along with a three-axis joystick.

Lift AircraftHexa.

Or, it can be controlled from the seven-inch touchscreen.

Lift AircraftHexa.

Lift says it gives “plenty of training” before takeout.

Lift AircraftHexa.

All those redundancies also make Hexa safer; it can still fly and land with up to six motors disabled.

Lift AircraftHexa.

As a backup, it also has a parachute and airbag system.

Lift AircraftHexa.

The vehicle is built to carry one person.

Lift AircraftHexa.

Before flying, that person must sign a waiver, then train in the virtual reality simulator.

Lift AircraftHexa.

Then, the ground crew sets the passenger up in the vehicle for the ride, which is monitored the entire time.

Lift AircraftHexa.

“Autonomy is actually much easier in the air than for cars on the ground – there are far fewer obstacles, no roads, no traffic lights, and you have 3 dimensions to move around,” founder Matt Chasen said.

Lift AircraftHexa.

When it approaches a certain battery level, Hexa will automatically land at a safe designated spot.

Lift AircraftHexa.

Lift postponed a planned 25 city tour to show off the vehicle because of the pandemic, and the company says it is using that extra time for more testing and development.

Lift AircraftHexa.

Eventually, the plan is for anyone who meets certain age and height requirements to be able to rent Hexa for a ride.

Lift AircraftHexa.

Jeff Bezos did it, back in 2018.

Lift Aircraft.Jeff Bezos.

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