Anderson Cooper flies in an eVTOL – 60 minutes

“That’s cool,” was the response of 60 Minutes correspondent Anderson Cooper after he landed in a vehicle called Hexa. It looks like an oversized drone for people to fly in and is what is known as an eVTOL, which stands for electric vertical takeoff and landing. The team behind Hexa believe this is the future of travel.

Hexa was created by Austin-based Lift Aircraft, and Cooper was the first person outside the company to try the aircraft while reporting on eVTOLs for a story that aired. Sunday at 60 minutes.

Unlike traditional pilot training, which can take years, Cooper only had to spend about thirty minutes in a virtual reality simulator to operate Hexa. When it came time to fly, the company put a few restrictions on Cooper’s flight: Computers limited how high, how far, and how fast Cooper could fly. There was also a pilot on the ground who could take over remotely if he got into trouble.

†[The ride] only lasted about nine minutes, but it was really exciting,” Cooper told 60 Minutes Overtime.

Lift CEO Matt Chasen designed the plane Cooper flew in as a so-called ultralight vehicle, meaning it doesn’t need to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration, but can’t fly over populated areas. Chasen plans to offer joyrides to paying customers later this year and hopes his vehicle will give passengers a taste of the future of air travel until eVTOLs are ready to be deployed in our everyday lives.

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Correspondent Anderson Cooper and Lift CEO Matt Chasen

Thanks to recent improvements in batteries and computer technology, an entire electric aviation industry has sprung up over the past decade. Dozens of companies have invested billions of dollars to create a wide variety of eVTOLs. The companies’ visions differ, with some anticipating that their vehicles will be used as air ambulances, others to carry cargo, and many more hoping to be involved in operating air taxis.

If Hexa was designed to give customers a taste of what’s to come, there are many other companies working towards certification with the FAA to realize that future faster than you might think. Cooper visited two other start-ups to review their designs for eVTOL air taxis: Joby Aviation, an industry leader that hopes to begin service in 2024, and Wisk Aero, which is building an autonomous eVTOL that will carry passengers without a pilot in the air. cockpit. While the launch of Wisk is likely much further away, they believe autonomy will be key to broad adoption of eVTOLs.

The industry faces its challenges. First, the FAA has not yet certified eVTOL for commercial use, and infrastructure needs to be built — including the vertiports where eVTOLs would take off and land.

You can check out Anderson Cooper’s full report on eVTOLs below.


Flying vehicles of the future: companies race to develop eVTOL “air taxis”

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The video above was originally published on April 17, 2022.

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