Workhorse Group Inc. (NASDAQ: WKHS
), an American technology company focused on providing sustainable and cost-effective solutions to the commercial transportation sector, announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) accepted their application for Type Certification for their SureFly eVTOL aircraft. The June 1st application is an important step forward, as the SureFly design appears to be the first hybrid-electric eVTOL multi-copter to reach this important milestone with the FAA.
SureFly has been designed to create a new type of aircraft that is intended to be easy to operate, safe to fly and expected to be moderately priced relative to a conventional helicopter. SureFly has eight electrically driven props that are powered via a piston or turbine based generator. The craft also has a small lithium battery that is designed to power the motors for a safe descent and landing in the rare event that the generator should fail while in flight. In addition to these redundancies, the SureFly design has a ballistic parachute that works above 100ft of altitude.
The SureFly system features a state of the art fly-by-wire control system that enables single joystick control of the craft. The lightweight carbon fiber fuselage and large front windshield also lend a level of comfort and safety for the pilot and passenger. The SureFly can accommodate a pilot and passenger or a pilot and cargo for a wide variety of applications.
“The FAA has yet to certify an aircraft like SureFly,” said Steve Burns, CEO of Workhorse Group. “We have been working closely with the FAA while we have been under our Experiment Certification status, and we feel that their acceptance of our Type Certification application represents a vote of confidence in our team, our product and the future of electric vertical take and landing aircraft here in the United States.”
Because the FAA has not certificated an aircraft like SureFly before, and because this is truly a first-of-its-kind design, much of the FAA’s regulatory certification framework does not apply to SureFly, so Workhorse is working closely with top experts in the field to develop new certification requirements that fit a hybrid-electric eVTOL like SureFly.