The topic of (so-called) flying cars and electric, drone-like ride sharing platforms keeps coming up in conversations about the future of travel, regardless of whether or not that topic makes any sense. The latest one of these to attract media attention is Kitty Hawk, whose Cora air taxi division is developing a VTOL-capable, all-electric air taxi for the near future. They’ve done a lot more than attract media attention this time, however. They’ve attracted a big-time commercial partner: Boeing.
“Working with a company like Kitty Hawk brings us closer to our goal of safely advancing the future of mobility,” said Steve Nordlund, vice president and general manager of Boeing NeXt, in a written statement that may or may not be dripping with irony after the recent media covering Boeing’s 737 MAX deadly string of safety failures. He went on to add that Boeing and Kitty Hawk, “have a shared vision of how people, goods and ideas will be transported in the future, as well as the safety and regulatory ecosystem that will underpin that transportation.”
For their part, the Kitty Hawk Cora prototypes had flown more than 700 hours in calendar year 2018. They’re designed to run at altitudes between 500′ to 3000′ above ground, cruise at about 100 MPH (180 km/h) and have an initial range of 62 miles (about 100 km) on a single charge. There are, today, four Cora registered with the FAA (as the Kitty Hawk Mule SPA), including serial no. 005 (N305XZ), registered in September 2018, and serial no. 006 (N306XZ), registered in late November 2018 as a Mule SPA-Alpha model. Features of the “Alpha” version had not been revealed at the time the source article was written.
That’s a bit off-topic, but these Cora things are pretty cool, in my opinion. Not sure I’d get on one unless it got the 737 MAX’ “optional” safety features as standard, though. Is that just me? Read the official press release, below, then tell us what you guys think about the new Boeing partnership Kitty Hawk got itself into the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Boeing and Kitty Hawk Form Strategic Partnership
CHICAGO AND MOUNTAIN VIEW – Boeing [NYSE: BA] and Kitty Hawk Corporation today announced a strategic partnership to collaborate on future efforts to advance safe urban air mobility. The strategic partnership will bring together the innovation of Kitty Hawk’s Cora division with Boeing’s scale and aerospace expertise.
“Working with a company like Kitty Hawk brings us closer to our goal of safely advancing the future of mobility,” said Steve Nordlund, vice president and general manager of Boeing NeXt, an organization that is laying the foundation for a next-generation mobility ecosystem in which autonomous and piloted vehicles can safely coexist. “We have a shared vision of how people, goods and ideas will be transported in the future, as well as the safety and regulatory ecosystem that will underpin that transportation.”
“Kitty Hawk was started to advance technology in flight and bring new innovations to life,” said Sebastian Thrun, co-founder and CEO of Kitty Hawk. “I am excited about our companies working together to accelerate making safe electric flight a reality.”
The agreement with Kitty Hawk Corp. is part of Boeing’s disciplined, long-term strategy of entering into value-added partnerships that enhance and accelerate growth and deliver key differentiators for customers.
Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading provider of commercial airplanes, defense, space and security systems, and global services. As the top U.S. exporter, the company supports commercial and government customers in more than 150 countries. Boeing employs more than 150,000 people worldwide and leverages the talents of a global supplier base. Building on a legacy of aerospace leadership, Boeing continues to lead in technology and innovation, deliver for its customers and invest in its people and future growth.
Kitty Hawk Corp., headquartered in Mountain View, California, builds electric transportation solutions to free people from traffic and decrease carbon footprint. The company gets its name from the beaches of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina where the Wright Brothers took flight for the first time in 1903. The company’s portfolio of vehicles includes Cora, a two-person air taxi and Flyer, a vehicle for personalized flight.