Kitty Hawk Corporation, the electric personal aircraft manufacturer based out of Palo Alto, recently announced that it is winding down one of its earliest projects after learning everything it needed.
Flyer was one of the more ambitious flying vehicle projects to emerge in recent memory. Work on the craft started nearly five years ago with Kitty Hawk first sharing it with the public in mid-2017. Over its lifetime, Kitty Hawk built 111 examples that were flown by more than 75 people. In total, the company said it conducted more than 25,000 successful flights, crewed and uncrewed.
In an exchange with TechCrunch, Kitty Hawk CEO Sebastian Thrun noted that no matter how hard they looked, they could not find a path to a viable business for Flyer.
As such, the team will be doubling down on Heaviside as its primary platform. Announced late last year, Heaviside is a more powerful vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicle that can reach speeds of up to 180 mph and has a range of around 100 miles. It is 100 times quieter than a traditional helicopter, can be flown manually or autonomously and can even be piloted over cities.
According to the company, it can fly from San Jose to San Francisco in just 15 minutes.