The fun part about investing and trading is searching for potential opportunities that fly under the radar and being ready to seize a seat during an initial public offering (IPO). Remember The Jetsons? That animated sitcom originally aired its first episodes from 1962 to 1963 and continues to broadcast through syndication. It was one of my beloved Saturday morning cartoons that depicted a futuristic world as a counterpart to stone age living with The Flintstones. Some of the high-tech wonders portrayed in The Jetsons’ space age are today’s reality with mobile phones, personal computers, video conferencing, robots, and space stations. The big one we’ve all waited for is a flying car that we plebes can take airborne for errands, going to work, or excursions away from home. That day arrived in late 2021 with an electric-powered vertical takeoff and landing aircraft that does not require a pilot’s license to fly the friendly skies. The company is appropriately named “Jetson” and is based in Sweden.
“Jetson One is the first personal electric aerial vehicle on the market and no pilot’s license is required in the United States… The Jetson is a formula one racing car for the sky. A beautiful and lightweight design in aluminum and carbon fiber, that is incredibly fun to fly.”
Jetson ONE – Official Launch, Oct. 2021
“A new era of aviation is taking off. What once seemed only real in movies or cartoons is happening… Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) is an umbrella term for aircraft that are likely highly automated and electric. These aircraft are often referred to as air taxis or electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft… Many of these new aircraft take off in helicopter mode, transition into airplane mode for flying, and then transition back to helicopter mode for landing.” – FAA.gov
You can have a Jetson One for $92k by reserving it online with a $22k deposit, and they ship anywhere in the world. Jetson sold out their inventory in 2022 and are taking orders for 2023. It has a maximum speed of 63 MPH that’s propelled by eight electric motors that generate 102 horsepower. Thus far, the car can only run continually for 20 minutes, but I’m sure they have plans up their sleeve to extend flying time with new battery technologies on the horizon. The car is controlled with a three-axis joystick, a throttle lever to adjust power output, and it keeps flying even with the loss of an engine. It has an emergency function that takes control of the vehicle, a LiDAR sensor that tracks terrain to avoid obstacles, and a rapid deployment parachute system.
Let’s take a look at other flying cars in the pipeline. Most are marketed for commercial air taxi services and require a pilot’s license. They are all in various stages of production and come in different sizes and designs. Availability and regulations in the country you reside in determine whether they can be used as personal vehicles or require a pilot certification
AeroMobil is a Slovakia-based company committed to releasing a functioning flying car it calls “a supercar with superpowers” that’s inspired by the mythical winged horse Pegasus. It can transform from car to aircraft – from driving to flying – in under three minutes. It’s a notable hybrid designed to take off on a runaway like a plane but also morph into a car-like vehicle to drive on public roadways.
First Flying Car Commercial – AeroMobil
Vahana is an experimental Airbus eVTOL flagship program that ended in late 2019 after a final test flight. The company claims to have something new in the works, and everything learned “will be applied to the next iteration of urban mobility vehicles at Airbus.”
Kittyhawk is based in Palo Alto, California. It’s building and testing affordable and autonomous eco-conscious eVTOL air taxis. The company was founded by self-driving car pioneer Sebastian Thrun and backed by Google co-founder Larry Page. Kittyhawk has built and flown more than 100 aircraft. The latest all-electric aircraft autonomously takes off and will fly and land without a human pilot on a landing pad slightly larger than its wingspan. They are hiring for all positions.
Volocopter claims to be the pioneer of urban air mobility (UAM) that will launch the world’s first-ever eVTOL services consisting of VoloCity electric air taxis, VoloRegion long-range passenger aircraft, VoloDrone heavy-lift cargo drones, and the infrastructure that completes the ecosystem. It plans to launch commercial services in Paris by the summer of 2024 followed by services in Singapore, Rome, and Neom.
Moog is involved in numerous industries that include aircraft, defense, machinery, marine, medical, power generation, space, oil, and gas. It’s listed on the NYSE under $MOGA and $MOGB. The current eVTOL test vehicle is the S250 quadcopter after acquiring the SureFly in 2019. The S250 remains under development.
Opener’s BlackFly is based in Canada and well-funded for development. The first flight in a proof-of-concept vehicle was in the fall of 2011, and the latest flight happened in front of 100k people at the Pacific Airshow in California. I suggest visiting the Website for details about this unique eVTOL. Here’s a short video clip:
BlackFly – Flying Toward the Future, Jan. 2023
Terrafugia Transition’s Website requires a password to access, but Wikipedia has a lot of information and pictures you can peruse. It’s a light-sport, road-ready airplane that’s been under development since 2006. It received a Special Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) airworthiness certificate from the FAA only allowing it to be flown. I was unable to locate any info about a road approval that was expected last year.
EHang is headquartered in China and listed on the NASDAQ under the symbol $EH. EHang is an eVTOL technology platform company that’s testing an autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV). Model EH216 completed its first passenger-carrying demo flight in Feb. 2023.
Joby Aviation is based in Santa Cruz, California. It has developed its eVTOL aircraft for a decade and completed the second out of five stages required for flight certification in Feb. 2023 by the FAA. 2025 is the targeted launch date for its commercial passenger service. Joby is listed on the NYSE under the symbol $JOBY.
Jaunt Air Mobility (an AIRO Group company) is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with design and manufacturing in Montreal, Canada. It claims to be building the best in the next generation of eVTOL and hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft for faster travel over urban areas. It is the global leader in Slowed-Rotor Compound (SRC) technology, and Jaunt’s Journey is the world’s first aircraft combining helicopter and airplane flight capabilities. Jaunt expects to start delivering the Journey in 2026.
Jaunt Air Mobility – Journey, Apr. 2022
Boeing’s Aurora is developing an eVTOL Passenger Air Vehicle (PAV), a multirotor aircraft designed and developed for on-demand urban transportation. A prototype completed a controlled takeoff, hover, and landed during its first test in Jan. 2019.
Aston Martin is developing its Volante Vision Concept exploring personal air mobility in partnership with Cranfield Aerospace Solutions, Cranfield University, and Rolls-Royce. The aircraft has room for three adults and is an autonomous hybrid-electric vehicle for urban and inter-city air travel.
Three additional burgeoning industries I’m keeping an eye on are hydrogen fuel technology, supersonic commercial airline travel, and hotels in space. That information can be found in “The Race to Retail Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology, Production, and Distribution” Parts 1 and 2 (Twitter thread), “A Thunderous Renaissance in Affordable Supersonic Air Travel” Parts 1 and 2 (thread), and “A Space Hotel in Your Lifetime” Part 1.
The brilliant Engineering behind Jetson ONE – eVTOL Innovation
“There are many companies around the world developing personal evtol aircraft, however, the Swedish company Jetson, stands out. Success of jetson ONE can be attributed to its simple configuration, compact design, and excellent maneuverability. In this video, I’ll explore the technology and the operating principles behind the different movements of this aircraft, and show how a pilot can perform those spectacular maneuverers on this ‘extremely fun-to-fly’ all-electric personal aircraft.”
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