The SureFly hybrid helicopter that resembles a drone

The SureFly hybrid helicopter has hit the market from the Cincinnati-based Workhorse Group. With its 8 propellers – also known as a Octocopter – it looks like a giant drone flying through the air.

Expected to go on sale in 2021 at about $200,000, the SureFly hybrid-electric helicopter is in the process of obtaining FAA approvals. CEO of Workhouse Group Steve Burns comments that “We feel that the FAA acceptance of our Type Certification application represents a vote of confidence in our team, our product and the future of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft in the United States.”

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This hybrid helicopter uses fossil fuels on the engine of the 8 contra rotating electric props. Technology is not quite ready to completely do away with petroleum-based products for the helicopter market. Even the lithium ion batteries of today cannot provide the energy density necessary for the multi-copter. 

SureFly hybrid helicopter props

surefly hybrid helicopter props
Workhorse / SureFly

According to Forbes, “A designer estimated the total horsepower equivalent for the copter at about 330 maximum continuous horsepower.”  And that “SureFly seats two people or one plus cargo, with a maximum payload of around 500 pounds and a gross takeoff weight of 2500 lbs. It’s built of carbon-fiber to keep it as light as possible, including using thin plastic seats. The company says SureFly is designed to fly approximately 70 miles at a speed of 70 mph, day or night.”

SureFly hybrid helicopter cabin

surefly hybrid helicopter cabin
Workhorse / SureFly

The multi-copter is designed to be as easy to operate as a modern drone. While the projected clientele for the SureFly electric helicopter is private owners, with Uber’s recent announcement of the Elevate network, it’s likely that SureFly will be on the forefront of bringing peer-to-peer flights to life. Flying vehicles for everyday commutes are very near to our future, and we can’t wait to see how SureFly works into that equation.


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