USAF initiative Agility Prime demonstrates eVTOL advances

24 August 2020 (Last Updated August 25th, 2020 13:00)

The US Air Force’s (USAF) initiative Agility Prime has demonstrated the developments in the electric vertical take-off and landing flight (eVTOL).

USAF initiative Agility Prime demonstrates eVTOL advances
LIFT Aircraft CEO Matt Chasen pilots the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) Hexa over Camp Mabry. Credit: Air National Guard / Staff Sgt Sean Kornegay.

The US Air Force’s (USAF) initiative Agility Prime has demonstrated the developments in the electric vertical take-off and landing flight (eVTOL).

Conducted at Camp Mabry in Texas, US, the first Agility Prime ORB flight demonstration was witnessed by Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett, Air Force chief of staff general Charles Brown Jr, and Air Force chief master sergeant JoAnne Bass.

The leaders were joined by Texas National Guard hosts and AFWERX personnel.

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract recipient LIFT Aircraft demonstrated the flight.

The company is one of the first small companies selected as participants for the Agility Prime ‘Air Race to Certification’.

LIFT Aircraft has developed Hexa eVTOL to offer a fully autonomous people transport.

Under the Agile programme, it will refine and accelerate the progress of Hexa by expanding its flight envelope.

During the demonstration, LIFT CEO Matthew Chasen navigated Hexa over the Camp Mabry parade ground.

Agility Prime lead and AFWERX director colonel Nathan Diller said: “We now have over fifteen of the leading aircraft manufacturers in the world applying to partner with Agility Prime, with many of them already on contract.

“This flight today marks the first of many demonstrations and near-term flight tests designed to reduce the technical risk and prepare for Agility Prime fielding in 2023.”

Agility Prime is a non-traditional programme seeking to speed-up the potential commercial market for advanced air mobility vehicles.

These vehicles, or ORBs, could be used for specific operations such as medical evacuation, firefighting, civil and military disaster relief, search and rescue, and humanitarian relief.

During the launch of the programme in April, Barrett said: “Agility Prime is a programme with a vision of world impact.

“The thought of an electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle, a flying car, might seem straight out of a Hollywood movie, but by partnering today with stakeholders across industries and agencies, we can set up the US for this aerospace phenomenon.”

Last month, AFWERX innovation programme prepared to host the first virtual TeamUp event with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).