It has been 78 years since the world’s first practical helicopter – the VS-300 – took flight at Stratford, Connecticut. Now, after almost 8 decades, US-based company Workhorse aims to shake up the helicopter industry with its latest personal helicopter, the “SureFly”.
The drone-like hybrid aircraft uses four propeller arms with eight independent motors, each driving a single carbon fibre propeller to ensure stability while flying and is powered by a gasoline piston engine fitted with two extra Lithium battery packs for an emergency landing in the event of engine failure. As a backup, it’s also equipped with a ballistic parachute that also brings the Surefly down safely.
Workhorse is marketing the aircraft as an “air-taxi” for everyday transportation. It is suitable for short journeys for two passengers (including pilot and passenger) flying as high as 4,000 feet with a top speed of 70 mph with around one hour of flight time available per tank of gasoline. Furthermore, once on the ground, the Surefly’s four carbon-fiber arms can be folded down to a small footprint for storage inside a standard garage.
The company is now accepting pre-orders for the aircraft, starting at $200,000.