A year after its unveiling, Lift Aircraft says more than 13,000 people have signed up so far for rides on the Hexa passenger drone that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos checked out at a conference months ago.
It’s been nine months since Lift Aircraft announced its plan to field an 18-rotor, electric-powered copter for fun flights, and nearly six months since the company’s Hexa aircraft shared a photo op with Jeff Bezos at Amazon’s MARS conference — but Lift’s CEO says the Hexa project is still on track to take on its first customers by the end of this year.
Matt Chasen, a veteran of the startup world and a former Boeing engineer, says his company is planning to offer the first round of trial flights in its headquarters city of Austin, Texas.
The original idea was to take the Hexa, which will be classified as a powered ultralight aircraft by the Federal Aviation Administration, on a 25-city tour.
“Securing great places to fly in each city is not super easy but we’re planning to go to LA, SF and SD [Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego] in the first few months of next year, and will likely time our tour through Seattle for summer,” Chasen said in an email.
A startup created by Matt Chasen, the founder of the uShip online shipping marketplace, aims to sell rides on electric-powered aircraft that are so simple to operate that tourists can take them out for a spin.
Lift Aircraft is based in Austin, Texas, but Chasen told GeekWire that Seattle is high on the list of places where the company’s Hexa ultralights could have their first outings.
“Seattle is one of the pioneering cities in aerospace and aviation,” said Chasen, who stepped down from his role as Austin-based uShip’s CEO in 2016.