Large yachts often carry helicopters for quick trips to shore. AIR, a developer of personal eVTOL aircraft for consumers, says its vehicles could perform the same mission more efficiently and is making its case to the yachting community.
The company, based in Pardes Hanna, Israel, formed a partnership with the International SeaKeepers Society, a charitable and educational yachting organization. The collaboration is meant to promote the use of AIR’s eVTOLs on yachts for shore transport, resupply missions, and shuttling passengers and cargo. The electric powered aircraft would take on much of the work traditionally done with dinghies, launches and other small boats, or with helicopters and small seaplanes on some larger vessels.
Under the agreement SeaKeepers will act as a “brand ambassador” for AIR and help the company as it pursues its goal of attracting customers to electric powered personal eVTOLs. AIR said the AIR ONE vehicle it is developing is well suited for shipboard use and can simplify operations compared with other auxiliary vehicles that require fuel, numerous spare parts and support equipment to be stored onboard. The AIR ONE, the company said, could be charged using a yacht’s built-in generators.
“The eVTOL is a natural addition to yachting missions,” said Jay Wade, chairman of SeaKeepers. “AIR ONE specifically is a no-brainer for yachters looking for an environmentally friendly, easy-to-integrate flight option to elevate their yacht experience, literally and figuratively.”
The AIR ONE is a two-seat vehicle designed to operate from any flat surface and carry a load of about 550 pounds at speeds up to 135 knots over what AIR calls “a practical range.” The aircraft’s small size and collapsible wings ease storage and make it practical “for a considerable portion of the yachting community,” the company said.
“In addition to helping improve yacht logistics, this partnership enables yachters to add an extra layer of sky-high adventure to sea excursions and is a significant step in our mission to advance air mobility adoption around the world,” said Rani Plaut, CEO and co-founder of AIR.
The company said it has taken more than 300 pre-orders for its AIR ONE and plans to begin deliveries late next year.