Jetson Aerospace, namesake of the 1960s-era Hanna-Barbera cartoon, has unveiled its personal eVTOL aircraft, the Jetson One.
The Jetson One, revealed to the public last week, is a recreational ultralight eVTOL aircraft that doesn’t require a pilot certificate to fly. Pre-orders have already begun and it will only set you back $92,000, with some assembly required.
Upon delivery during summer of next year, the small eVTOL will arrive 50 percent assembled. The frame comes in one piece while the batteries and cables are up to you—with detailed instructions, of course.
“If you get the Jetson at lunchtime, you’re ready to fly by dinner,” Peter Ternström, Jetson president and co-founder, told FLYING this week.
He talked about the inspiration for the Jetson One.
“I wanted to have a little sports car for the sky,” Ternström said. “It has always been my dream since just a kid and finally now, the technology is available.”
The 190 lb. aircraft, powered by Tesla battery cells, only lasts about 20 minutes in the air. But the short battery life is of no concern to Ternström, however, as that’s not what Jetson is aiming for.
“The scope of the project is not to solve big issues like urban mobility or air taxis or something like that,” he said. “The Jetson is all about having fun.”
Think of the Jetson One as a Jet Ski—something you take out for a joyride, but can’t ride to work.
“It’s a profoundly ecstatic experience to fly this thing because it’s completely vibration-free,” Ternstöm said. “And it makes a buzzing noise like something from ‘Star Wars.’”
Just like vehicles you would find in “Star Wars,” the Jetson One comes packed with amazing technology. The bottom of the aircraft comes equipped with a LIDAR sensor, with software that limits how fast you can travel depending on your surroundings. Safety features include ballistic parachutes and zero-input hovering—just let go of the throttle and joystick and you’ll come to a peaceful stop mid-air.
According to Ternström, the Jetson One is designed to allow anyone to climb in and fly without the need for piloting experience. The eVTOL’s software also includes a “virtual cushion.” When landing, the aircraft slows down your descent to mitigate hard landings.
While you may not need a pilot certificate to fly the Jetson One, you may need one to purchase it. Ternström said that he wants the first customers to “know what they’re doing.”
“I am not going to sell it to anyone. Whether or not they like it or not, the first 30 people to receive their Jetson, they are going to be ambassadors for the brand because the level of attention they’re going to get with their flying device is going to be astronomical,” he said. “That’s why I’m selecting people.”
Still, if you manage to get inside one, no training will be required. The Jetson One, in the U.S., will be classified as an ultralight vehicle that will not be required to attain any airworthiness certifications.
“It offers them some flexibility, it offers them also some restrictions that aren’t part of the usual aircraft world,” said Dick Knapinski, director of communications at EAA.
Due to its classification, the Jetson One will not be permitted to fly in populated areas or controlled airspace.
Knapinski believes there are three things that stand in the way of a successful eVTOL aircraft: the engineering, the regulatory process, and consumer acceptance.
“It appears the Jetson people have got a lot of the engineering down,” he said.
As for regulatory obstacles, Knapinski says technology oftentimes moves faster than regulations. It will take time for the Jetson One to deliver and to find its place within FAA certifications.
Finally, consumer acceptance is often the determining factor for any emerging technology.
“They can have the best innovation in the world. If they don’t sell many of them, they’re not going to be successful,” he said.
Knapinski hopes to see the Jetson One in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in the near future.