Flying Vehicle Startup Signs Deal With Air Force

Testing under the Air Force AFWERX Agility Prime program is planned using the Pivotal BlackFly prototype

Chuck Martin, Editorial Director AI & IoT

May 29, 2024

2 Min Read
Loading the Helix into the transport trailer

Flying vehicle company Pivotal has signed a two-year deal with the U.S. Air Force to accelerate the testing and system verification of its eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) vehicle.

The contract gives Pivotal access to test facilities, expert resources and numerous sites in restricted airspace.

The Pivotal Helix is a tilt aircraft with eight fixed rotors and tandem wings. It can emergency land on water and fly with maximum wind of 20 miles per hour.

Testing under the Air Force AFWERX Agility Prime program is planned using the Pivotal BlackFly prototype, the predecessor to the Helix.

“This OTA (Other Transaction Authority) Contract with the USAF is our first direct-to-government contract and only our second DOD-related transaction,” said Ken Karklin, Pivotal CEO.  “We see this as a strong vote of support for the mission potential of Pivotal’s technology. Not only are we going to advance the capabilities of our patented tilt-aircraft architecture through this relationship, we are going to accelerate the establishment of the Helix’s airworthiness and see its utility demonstrated in a range defense of missions.”

Before CES in Las Vegas earlier this year, Pivotal displayed its electric aerial vehicle (EAV) for the media

The flying vehicle was a standout among hundreds of other technology exhibits at a show area at the Mirage Convention Center.

Related:Flying Vehicle Featured Even Before CES 2024 Opens

Karklin told me at the time it would be the only showing in Las Vegas since it was being presented exclusively for the media in advance of CES.

The flying vehicle, which falls in the category of powered ultralights, does not require a pilot’s license to fly it.

This is the first category of flying vehicles to hit the market this year.

Air taxis and certified flying vehicles that require a pilot’s license are coming, but not until starting in 2025, due to regulatory requirements.

Like other flying vehicles in this category, flight time of the Helix is about 20 minutes, due to current battery technology limitations.

Flying time is expected to get longer as battery technology improves.

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About the Author(s)

Chuck Martin

Editorial Director AI & IoT

Chuck Martin, author of "Flying Vehicles," New York Times Business Bestselling author and futurist, is Editorial Director at Informa Tech, home of AI Business, IoT World Today and Enter Quantum. Martin has been a leader in emerging digital technologies for more than two decades. He is considered one of the foremost emerging technology experts in the world and his latest book title "Flying Vehicles" (The Emergence of Personal Air Travel, Flying Cars, and Air Taxis) followed "Digital Transformation 3.0" (The New Business-to-Consumer Connections of The Internet of Things).  He hosts a worldwide podcast titled “The Voices of the Internet of Things with Chuck Martin,” where he converses with top executives from the companies driving the adoption of emerging technology.

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