The new Zeva Aero Z2 eVTOL prototype will be ready by the end of this year
In a unique take on eVTOL design, the single-occupant Zeva Aero Z2 eVTOL prototype is a tail-sitting flying UFO-like aircraft that’s intended for solo, cargo, and military transportation. A special feature not found on many eVTOLs in its class is the ability to “SkyDock” and dock on the sides of buildings as a parking space.
Once it;s been completely developed, the Zeva Aero Z2 eVTOL prototype is estimated to have a max speed of 160 mph and a range of around 50 miles on a single battery charge. The prototype might be available by the end of this year, according to Zeva CEO Stephen Tibbitts.
Tibbetts also mentioned the Z2’s “Superman mode” which sits the pilot face-down and head first. Along with its tail-setting design, this allows the eVTOL to fly horizontally and efficiently, and without the use of tilting propulsion systems.
On four propellers, the Z2 rises vertically while hovering and maneuvering, similar to how a standard drone would. When moving forward, it tilts forward. As speed rises, it tilts more forward until its body generates enough lift for the aircraft to level, with all of its propulsion directed toward the forward drive. This allows the Zeva Aero Z2 eVTOL prototype to be much faster than other eVTOLs that exclude tilting propulsion systems.
The company has successfully completed test flights with both a dummy passenger and without any personnel.
“We’ve done a lot of flight testing on tether and basically perfecting and honing our flight control characteristics,” said Tibbitts. “And then off-tether, we’ve been able to do low-level, almost like ground-level maneuvers and some in hover mode.”
Zeva Aero’s goal over the next two years is to receive FAA airworthiness certification. Zeva states that they’ll begin offering air taxi services by 2025, but will also design its aircraft for private transportation.