Fancy the idea of flying your own electric aircraft over the treetops without spending years on a pilot's license? The first wave of one-person electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft is now heading to market. These intuitive, fly-by-wire single-seaters have attracted hundreds of orders from around the world, and those sold in the U.S. will be classified under the FAA's ultralight category.
While ultralights don't require a pilot's license, the FAA has implemented some regulations: Pilots are not allowed to fly over congested areas, the motorized aircraft must weigh less than 254 lbs., and the maximum speed must be no more than 63.3 mph. The maximum payload for most single-seaters, including the pilot and any gear, is about 230 lbs.
The recreational aircraft will appeal to many outdoor enthusiasts who own large farms or ranches, weekend warriors flying in remote state parks or other public lands, or even the lucky few who live on tropical islands. (Several of these one-seaters have floats that can land on calm water.) The owner of the first Ryse Recon plans to commute from his lakeside home in the Midwest to an airport on the lake's other shore, while the cofounder of Jetson often flies his one-seater across rural vineyards to the firm's headquarters in Tuscany.
These one-seaters are the bleeding edge of the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) movement, the emerging segment of the aviation industry that includes drones and eVTOLs of all sizes as well as infrastructure like vertiports. Just as these one-seaters are being introduced into the recreational market, the first multi-person electric taxis are being tested and will start to populate a new air-taxi market by 2025.
Here are seven one-seaters that will soon be flying in skies near you.