The US Air Force’s new electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (eVTOL) has completed its first test flight at Duke Field, Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
Named the LIFT Hexa 09, the 18-propeller unmanned aerial vehicle flew for 10 minutes, reaching an altitude of 50 feet (15 meters).
The test was conducted by the rotary wing development team, the 413th Flight Test Squadron, along with AFWERX Program’s Agility Prime project to evaluate the capacity of the eVTOL when deployed for military operations.
The Hexa 09 is one of two LIFT vehicles stationed at the base and a successor of the Hexa 05 tested in April.
“This is an opportunity to leverage some of the unit’s expertise with rotary aircraft and apply it to this new field of electric propulsion aircraft,” 413th FLTS Futures Flight commander Maj. Riley Livermore said.
Since 2020, the Hexa vehicle has gone through a series of flight tests as part of a Small Business Innovation Research contract between the USAF and LIFT Aircraft Co.
The aim of developing Hexa vehicles is to improve transportation for military personnel, base logistics, and search-and-rescue missions. The tests will provide data that will speed up the process of LIFT’s approval for efficient commercial utility.