What: Established in 2013 by Dr. Rafi Yoeli, an aerospace research and development scientist with more than 35 years experience, and others, including Major-General Herzle Bodinger, the former Commander of the Israeli Air Force, Urban Aeronautics is pursuing several markets for flying cars through its subsidiaries, Metro Skyways and Tactical Robotics.
While Tactical Robotics is focused on unmanned flying vehicles for military use, Metro Skyways is seeking to enter the commercial flying car market for human transportation – everything from executive transport to MedEvac (flying ambulances). The Cormorant is Urban Aeronautics’ unmanned vehicle for military operations, while the CityHawk is its aircraft designed for civil and air taxi operations. The company’s Falcon XP is its largest vehicle, designed to carry up to 13 passengers plus a pilot.
How: Rather than designing an aircraft that will require regulatory agencies to modify their existing rules, Urban Aeronautics worked to create a flying car that meets today’s flight standards. The firm developed a ‘rotorless’ vehicle (no exposed rotors, called Fancraft) and has decided to forego battery-powered propulsion in favor of hydrogen-powered vehicles that use two 1,000 horsepower engines enabling them to have a flight range of about 90 miles (150 kilometers) at a top speed of about 165 mph (270 km/hour).
When: Urban Aeronautics predicts their first manned flights will be in 2021-22.