Anderson Cooper flies an eVTOL

Anderson Cooper, 60 Minutes' correspondent, responded with "That is cool," after landing in Hexa.

03 July 2022 Sunday 18:20
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Anderson Cooper flies an eVTOL

Anderson Cooper, 60 Minutes' correspondent, responded with "That is cool," after landing in Hexa. It's a large drone that can be flown in, and it's what's called an eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing). Hexa is the future of travel, according to its creators.

Hexa is manufactured by Austin-based Lift Aerocraft. Cooper was the first outsider to take the aircraft out for a spin while reporting about eVTOLs. This story aired Sunday on 60 Minutes.

Cooper spent only thirty minutes on a virtual reality simulator to learn how to fly Hexa, which is a far cry from traditional pilot training that can take many years. Cooper was restricted from flying when it was time. Cooper couldn't fly higher, farther, or faster than the computers allowed. If Cooper got into trouble, there was a pilot who could remotely take control.

Cooper said that the ride lasted only nine minutes but was very thrilling. Cooper spoke to 60 Minutes Overtime.

Matt Chasen, Lift's CEO designed the aircraft Cooper flew into as an ultralight vehicle. This means that it doesn't need to be certified by Federal Aviation Administration but can not fly over densely populated areas. Chasen will offer joyrides for paying customers in the coming months and hopes that his vehicle will allow passengers to experience the future of air travel, until eVTOLs can be used in everyday life.

A whole new industry of electric aviation has developed over the past decade thanks to advances in battery technology and computing technology. Numerous companies have spent billions to develop a wide variety of eVTOLs. The visions of the companies are different. Some anticipate that their vehicles will be used to transport cargo and others as air ambulances. Others see them being used to transport passengers. Many more want to operate air taxis.

Hexa was designed to give customers a glimpse of the future. There are many other companies that are working towards FAA certification to make that future a reality. Cooper also visited two other start ups to see their designs for eVTOL aircraft taxis. He was accompanied by Joby Aviation, a leader in the industry, who hopes to launch service as soon as 2024. Wisk Aero is currently building an autonomous eVTOL which will transport passengers without a pilot. Although Wisk's launch is unlikely to happen until much later, Wisk Aero believes autonomy will be critical for widespread adoption of eVTOLs.

There are many challenges facing the industry. One, the FAA has yet to approve an eVTOL commercially available. Infrastructure will also need to be constructed, including vertiports for eVTOLs landing and taking off.

Anderson Cooper's complete report on eVTOLs can be viewed below.

This video was originally published April 17, 2022.



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