Alef Aeronautics is the first company to receive limited FAA Special Airworthiness Certification, as its flying Model A, which was unveiled in October 2022, is heading toward production readiness.
The FAA is well aware of the progress and development of flying cars and is working toward policies that would develop policies for electric vertical takeoff and landing, or eVTOL, vehicles.
Alef is the first company to gain approval from the U.S. government agency to gain the Special Airworthiness Certificate, which limits the locations and purpose for which it is allowed to fly.
According to the Code of Federal Regulations, the holder of such a certificate is required to report any failures, malfunctions, or defects to the FAA during the development and testing of the aircraft.
The FAA goes through a rigorous process to ensure the vehicle in question is safe for operation and can be used in approved U.S. airspace for personal, restricted, light sport, experimental, and special purpose flights, according to SimpleFlying.com. Aircraft with this certificate usually cannot be operated for hire, nor can it carry passengers.
In terms of where Alef will be allowed to fly, we did not receive an answer from either the company or the FAA when we initially contacted them. When we do, we’ll update the article.
Essentially, the FAA’s certificate will allow Alef to begin testing the Model A before it can be released to the public with these capabilities.
“We’re excited to receive this certification from the FAA. It allows us to move closer to bringing people an environmentally friendly and faster commute, saving individuals and companies hours each week,” CEO Jim Dukhovny said. “This is a one small step for planes, one giant step for cars.”
Carrying “one or two occupants,” the $300,000 Model A will fly 110 miles on a charge or 200 miles on the road.
Tesla’s next-gen Roadster is expected to have “hovering” capabilities, but we are unconvinced it will fly in the same classification as the Model A.
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