The startup’s OK to fly under experimental status will enable flight testing of its car-eVTOL hybrid, the Model A, according to an article by Flying.
An electric flying car design, capable of driving on roads like an automobile or taking off and flying like a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft, just received the all clear to fly under experimental status from the FAA.
A precursor to Alef Aeronautics’ Model A—in development since 2015 and expected to go on sale for $300,000 by 2025—was awarded an experimental category special airworthiness certificate, becoming the first “true” flying car design with legal approval to fly from the U.S. government, according to the company.
“True” is in quotations because the FAA has awarded a few approvals to similar models. Terrafugia’s Transition earned special light sport aircraft (SLSA) compliance in 2021, while Samson Sky’s Switchblade was cleared for flight test last July. But neither model is fully electric, and both rely on fixed-wing flight, which restricts the aircraft’s takeoff to airports.
Alef’s Model A, though, is designed to enable takeoff in dense urban settings. Following the Santa Clara, California-based startup’s emergence from stealth in October, CEO Jim Dukhovny explained that the vehicle will primarily drive on roads but will allow users to “hop” around obstacles such as “road conditions, weather, and infrastructure.”
The FAA told FLYING that it issued a special airworthiness certificate for the Armada Model Zero, a precursor to the Model A, on June 12. The agency said the approval allows the aircraft to be used for limited, experimental purposes, such as exhibition, research, and development.
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