Air Force challenge gives a lift to ‘flying car’ technologies

The U.S. Air Force’s tech incubator has given the go-ahead for 11 design concepts aimed at pushing the frontier for aircraft that can take off and land vertically — and at least two of the concepts have roots in the Seattle area.

Among the teams selected to advance in AFWERX’s High-Speed VTOL Concept Challenge are Jetoptera, based in Edmonds, Wash.; and VerdeGo Aero, which is based in Florida but has Bainbridge Island’s Erik Lindbergh as co-founder and executive chairman. Lindbergh is the grandson of aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh.

AFWERX’s challenge focuses on technologies that the military could use in VTOLs — vertical takeoff-and-landing aircraft that could include next-generation helicopters and other types of vehicles popularly known as “flying cars.” The challenge is being conducted for the Air Force as well as the U.S. Special Operations Command.

The winning teams were chosen from more than 200 entrants in the challenge. Over the next six months, the 11 teams will receive market research investments aimed at advancing their technologies.


Erik Lindbergh unveils VerdeGo air taxi venture

VerdeGo Aero in flight
An artist’s conception shows VerdeGo Aero’s air taxi over Rio de Janeiro. (Verdego Aero Illustration)

A new entrant in the market for electric-powered air taxis is getting a boost from one of aviation’s oldest family names: Erik Lindbergh, the grandson of pioneering pilot Charles Lindbergh, is announcing the formation of a venture called VerdeGo Aero.

VerdeGo Aero is headquartered at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s MicaPlex incubator in Daytona, Fla., but the younger Lindbergh provides a strong Seattle-area connection. He’s lived on Bainbridge Island for decades, and serves on the board of directors for Raisbeck Aviation High School near Seattle’s Museum of Flight.

Lindbergh serves as president of VerdeGo, which is developing a hybrid-electric, vertical-takeoff-and-landing aircraft that can be flown autonomously or by a pilot.

Get the full story on GeekWire.