At CES 2024, Pivotal, a Palo Alto, California-based firm backed by Larry Page, will begin accepting online orders for Helix, an affordable electric personal aircraft that can be flown without a pilot’s license.
The Launch of Helix: Pivotal Marks a Milestone in Aircraft Evolution
As Pivotal, formerly known as Opener, moves away from its ten-year concentration on lightweight electric vertical and takeoff aircraft, this launch marks a significant development for the company. The October unveiling of Helix, a single-seat aircraft with tilt-plane architecture that is widely known for its earlier innovation, BlackFly, marked the company’s technological maturity and its first design meant for larger-scale manufacturing.
Delivery of the Helix is expected to begin on June 10, 2024, and it will only be sold in the United States. In the United States, potential purchasers are needed to complete training and provide an initial deposit of $190,000 (pre-tax). The market is ready for the thrill of aviation leisure and short-hop eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) transport, claims Pivotal CEO Ken Karklin.
Unlocking Skies: The Helix – Pivotal’s FAA-Exempt Aircraft
The Helix is a single-seat airplane that does not require Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pilot certification. With a weight of about 348 pounds, the Helix falls into the FAA Part 103 (Ultralight) category in the US because of its lightweight nature. As such, there are restrictions associated with it. Ultralight aircraft, like the Helix, are not subject to FAA certification; however, they are limited to operating over non congested areas and must avoid airports. The manufacturer, Pivotal, requires all purchasers to complete training. Potential purchasers have to satisfy requirements, such as being at least eighteen (18) years old, weighing less than two hundred pounds, and being no taller than six feet five inches.
The Helix does have some restrictions, though. Owners won’t be able to travel far with this aircraft, with a range of more than 20 miles and a charging time of roughly 75 minutes from 20% to 100% battery using a 240V charger.
Ten Years Later, The Helix Takes Off
After over a decade of research, the Helix is Pivotal’s first large-scale production aircraft, intended to bring the experience of flight to everyone with an adventurous mindset and $200k to spare. With its unique hardware and software controls, the Helix is designed for ease of use. Pilots wishing to operate this aircraft must complete extensive simulation and flight training sessions offered by Pivotal to qualify. The Helix fosters a strong bond between the pilot and the whole flying experience in addition to enabling pilots to enjoy their natural surroundings more fully thanks to its silent operation and wide field of vision.