The Kitty Hawk flying machine is closer to becoming a reality. Since the flyer fits into the FAA’s ultralight category, wannabe pilots don’t need to have a license to step into the tiny cockpit.
While employees of the Larry Page-funded company have taken the flyer on more than 1,000 test flights, over the weekend they handed the keys to a civilian. More specifically, they handed them to YouTube star Casey Neistat, who naturally posted a video of the test to his YouTube channel.
The Kitty Hawk Flyer is currently limited to soaring a mere 10 feet off the ground, but earlier iterations didn’t look particularly easy to fly. The flying motorbikes were designed to fly over water and required balance and dexterity and other things that some of us desk jockeys don’t have.
The latest version swaps the seat for a saddle and has a sleek new design that looks less a flying bike and more like the flying race car of our Jetsons-fueled dreams. It is currently limited to a top speed of 20 mph and is still prepped for water landings, but it’s a dramatic—and impressive—design change that makes it feel less like a billionaire’s toy and more like it could someday be a potentially viable transportation option. No price or release date has yet been announced, but there is a waiting list.
In addition to its Flyer project, the company is also developing a two-seater electric aircraft called Cora, which is designed with air taxi service in mind as it can take off and land vertically. Earlier this year, the New York Times reported that the company struck a deal with New Zealand to start testing autonomous air taxis in that country.