Frequently Asked Questions
We know you have questions. But don't worry - we have answers!
- Is this a joke?
- Can I have a ride in it?
- When can I buy one?
- How are you paying for this?
- Why did you build it?
- Why doesn't it fly higher in the video?
- Why doesn't it fly for longer in the video?
- How much does it weigh?
- How high can it fly?
- How much can it lift?
- How long can it fly?
- How many times have you flown it?
- When was Flyt™ founded?
- Are you operating in ground effect?
- Is it safe?
- What if a propeller stops? Would I die?
Have another question you'd like answered? Submit your question here: email@example.com
1) Is this a joke? Nope, this isn't a joke. We're 100% serious about what we do and have tens of hours of flight test video to prove it. Besides, if this had been a joke don't you think we would have made it look better?
2) Can I have a ride in it? Sorry, but no. First of all, we care about your safety (and our liability), and giving rides to random people just isn't safe enough yet. Second, we're focused on changing the world in a big way, and anything that doesn't help with that is a distraction. Third, everyone asks and it wouldn't be fair to all those we've said no to.
3) When can I buy one? Sadly, it'll still be a while. This is still in the prototyping phase, and a commercially available flying machine is still a couple years off, although we're working hard towards that goal every day.
4) How are you paying for this? I knew I eventually wanted to try building a flying machine, so when I was working in consulting I lived very frugally and saved every penny I could. This included never getting a drink with meals (not even a soda), and having an actual roommate (in the same bedroom) to save money. Since then this project has been mostly funded by my savings account (which is almost depleted), and selling parts like the aircraft engines when they were no longer needed. Hurray for pursuing my passion!
5) Why did you build it? Simple - we believe that personal flying machines are the future and will make the world a better place. You can read more about it in the 'Our Vision' section.
6) Why doesn't it fly higher in the video? Safety. We could fly higher if we wanted (and we've flown it higher when its unmanned), but without hundreds of hours of testing to verify its safety it would be irresponsible to fly a person higher than 2-3 feet off the ground. That's the height we determined we could fly at, and if something went wrong and we had to use the emergency kill switch the pilot wouldn't be injured from the fall (the propellers still produce thrust for a second after they're stopped, which cushions the fall). In short, it wouldn't be safe to fly this any higher with a person in it (for now). Don't worry though, it can fly much higher than we showed you!
7) Why doesn't it fly longer in the video? This is a complicated question that has a lot of technical detail behind the answer. In short, we've been having some issues with the automatic flight controls that would normally keep it centered and at a constant height above the ground. As a result we've been flying it manually, meaning the guy sitting in the chair in the left side of the video is controlling the vehicle and having to correct several times a second by hand. It might be surprising, but that's really hard to do for a person (and really easy for a computer). As a result, we've been limiting flights to a little over 30 seconds to reduce the chances of a mistake and also to frequently check the battery voltage (the voltage monitor broke right before we started human testing).
8) How much does it weigh? The short answer is somewhere around 350lbs (160kg) including batteries, although we haven't directly weighed it in a while. The long answer is: the weight depends on a number of factors. For example, how many batteries are loaded? Do you have a pilot pod underneath? All these things change the weight, but it's around 200lbs (90kg) for the main part without batteries, and 150lbs (68kg) of batteries and pilot pod.
9) How high can it fly? In theory, it can fly many thousands of feet high. Once you can fly a few feet off the ground, there's no reason you can't go higher as long as you have the power (for those of you know know aeronautics, it operates outside of ground effect from the moment it takes off). Still, for safety and regulatory reasons you're probably never going to be flying at 10,000 feet (3,300m) in one of these.
10) How much can it lift? We've tested it with loads up to 200lbs (90kg) directly loaded, plus the weight of the pilot pod for a total of around 225lbs. In theory it should be able to still fly with loads up to ~400-450lbs (180-200kg). The reason we never tested it with heavier loads? We ran out of weights to add to it and the heavier the load the shorter the flight time, because you're constantly fighting gravity every second and gravity tends to win over the long run.
11) How long can it fly? The Flyt 16™ can only fly for around 10 minutes with a full battery set and 200lbs payload, but it's far from optimized. Remember, we built it in 7 weeks out of available components. For example, one of the heaviest parts are the motors and they're much bigger than we actually need. But don't worry - the Flyt 12™ we've designed next should be able to fly for around 25 minutes with a 200lbs payload in its current design. Plus, the main limitation is battery technology which is getting better every day!
12) How many times have you flown it? We've conducted 39 separate tests with a person inside it (all indoors, no more than 3 feet off the ground - see the safety section for more details). This includes five different people, although the early tests were extremely conservative and we'd stay no more than a few inches off the ground. Before human tests we ran 44 additional, unmanned tests in our testing space alone, plus a further ~80 tests before that. In short - it's been flown a lot, but always in incremental steps to make sure we're being safe about it.
13) When was Flyt™ founded? The guy who started Flyt™ began tinkering and building prototypes in a garage in 2013, so that's pretty much what we consider out 'founding' date. Check out our History section if you'd like to read more about it.
14) Are you operating in ground effect? No, we're not. If you're not familiar with the 'ground effect', when you have propellers close to the ground the air you're pushing forms a high-pressure pocket of air that increases your propeller efficiency. Basically you're cheating by riding a cushion of air and getting extra lift. Because our propellers are small and mounted high above the pilot, we're operating well outside of ground effect. We've noticed some other groups who have tried similar or adjacent concepts only demonstrate their prototypes with the propellers mounted close to the ground where they are likely operating in ground effect, so we designed ours to make sure we weren't getting any extra lift. Don't get us wrong - theirs would probably still work (we did the math) and we encourage anyone who's working on cool projects, but ours definitely still works hundreds or thousands of feet in their air. Seriously - we love anyone else as crazy as us!
15) Is it safe? The basic technology is extremely safe, but the Flyt 16™? No, not at all. Surprised by this answer? We're not going to lie and tell you this is the best thing ever. In its current form it's not safe because we haven't proven it safe yet, and some of the components we're using simply aren't rated for long-term use. Our next vehicle, the Flyt 12™ should be much, much safer and we hope to have the opportunity to prove its safety. Learn more about our safety efforts here.
16) What if a propeller stops? Would I die? No. In fact, we've even had a motor fail during a test before and we didn't even notice! One of the great things about multirotor vehicles like this is their redundancy, so if you lose one propeller you can keep right on flying. The Flyt 16™ has an incredible amount of redundancy built in, and the Flyt 12™ can still with at least 2 propellers stopped, and often more depending on which exact ones they are. That's one of the reasons we think multirotors are the future.