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New flying car backed by Google co-founder is ready for takeoff

Test drives are underway for the Kitty Hawk Flyer, which is being called a "flying car." The company said it's the first step in making flying “part of everyday life.” (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

Google co-founder Larry Page announced Wednesday that his new Kitty Hawk flying car is taking flight, according to published reports.

Page funded the Kitty Hawk Flyer model, which he calls "an exciting first step to sharing the freedom of flight.” It’s also intended as the first step in making flying “part of everyday life,” according to the company.

How is it regulated?

"Flyer" will operate under FAA CFR Part 103 - Ultralight, and may only be flown over uncongested areas. The FAA does not require aircraft registration or pilot certification to operate the Flyer. Flight training, however, is "highly encouraged," according to the company's website.

Piloting Kitty Hawk is as easy as playing the video game Minecraft, chief executive Sebastian Thrun said in published reports. Kitty Hawk operates on a “joy stick.”

Has it been tested?

Flyer test drives were recently held at the company’s testing facility at Lake Las Vegas in Nevada, the Straits Times reported.

“Making Flyer accessible, which is what we do at our Lake Las Vegas training facility, helps more people experience the freedom and possibilities of vehicles of the future," a Kitty Hawk spokesman said in a statement. "Our immediate priority is to invite small groups of people — customers, influencers, media and community members — to experience the freedom of flight here in our newly opened training facility."

The company is currently accepting applications – by invitation only – for a test flight model, the Straits Times reported. Its price has not yet been disclosed.

First-time riders are allowed to fly as high as 10 feet above the water. Additionally, the travelling speed is limited to 20 mph.

The aircraft is capable of vertical take-off and landing like a helicopter. Kitty Hawk said it sounded about as loud as a lawnmower at 15m away, and the volume was like a loud conversation at 75m away.

Several other flying car models are also being tested, with Uber and other companies expressing interest, according to the report.

Dave Clark, Flyer's director of strategic development, says on the company website that he "hopes to free people from traffic."

More details are available at the flyer.aero website.

 

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