Sweden-based eVTOL startup Jetson aims to bring the future within closer reach — as early as 2022, when the company’s personal eVTOLs will be ready for its first exclusive buyers.
Since releasing its new in-flight footage of the Jetson ONE last week, Peter Ternström, co-founder of Jetson, along with his colleague Tomasz Patan, said the response has been overwhelming, with inquiries from buyers and investors pouring in.
“There’s a lot of interest in this — it’s incredible,” he told eVTOL.com. The level of interest has reached a point where the entire 2022 production is sold out, and the company is now taking orders for 2023. It’s a positive response for Jetson, whose main goal is to make flying accessible to everyone.
“At Jetson, we are trying to be very pragmatic,” he said. “We are not trying to solve the big problems in the world [related to] urban air mobility or air taxis. The only thing we’re focusing on is showing people how profoundly fun and exciting it is to fly.”
With this strategy in mind, Jetson is turning its attention to producing a personal eVTOL kit for home-building aligned with the experimental aircraft specifications in the United States.
Amateur-build aircraft that require the consumer to build more than half the aircraft are classified as experimental by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and restricted on where and how they can operate. With this classification, the Jetson ONE does not need to be certified, and operators do not need a license to fly it. The classification also helps the personal eVTOL enter the market sooner.
“This will simply be the first aircraft that you can buy and fly without a pilot license — the first introduction to flight,” he said, adding this is also the first step in making this technology more widely accepted.
Releasing a factory-built version might be on Jetson’s radar in the future, but Ternström said the company is focusing on continuing to test its home-build kit over the next year.
“We started doing manned flight tests at the beginning of June with the Jetson ONE, but we also had a prototype that we had been testing for two years before we built the Jetson ONE,” he said. “[The prototype] was a much simpler construction, but it used the same propellers and engines, so we’ve done a lot of testing on it already.”
Starting next week, Jetson will begin a more extensive six-month testing program under various weather conditions. The company plans to finish the program in April 2022 before starting serious small-scale production by the end of 2022, and then large-scale production in 2023.
Jetson is one of a number of companies, including TeTra Aviation, that are actively trying to build personal eVTOLs. Constructed of a rigid aluminum spaceframe with eight electric motors, the Jetson ONE has an endurance of around 20 minutes, and a software-limited top speed of 102 kilometers per hour (63 miles per hour). It runs on a high discharge lithium-ion battery and can carry a pilot’s weight of 210 pounds (95 kilograms).
“It utilizes composite carbon-fiber and cutting-edge 3-D printed components, making it an extremely lightweight design,” Patan stated in a press release. “It is also equipped with many safety features, including a redundant propulsion system and a ballistic parachute. It is a dream to fly.”
Its ballistic parachute is sourced from a company in the Czech Republic and will deploy at higher altitudes. However, Ternström said the Jetson ONE is meant to be a low, fast-flying personal eVTOL, and most buyers likely won’t fly higher than two to five meters (six to 16 feet).
Without the altitude, the ballistic parachute won’t deploy — it would need hundreds of feet in order to deploy, he said.
“Also, if you’re two to five meters in the air, if you run into a problem, you are probably not going to be able to react to that problem before you hit the ground,” he said.
This is where the Jetson ONE’s aluminum spaceframe will come in handy — the company believes it will act as a safety shell for users.
While the purpose of the Jetson ONE is to make flight available to everyone, the company was particular about who it chose as its first buyers for the limited number of vehicles that would be available in 2022.
“We’re quite selective about who we sold this technology to because the early users, whether they like it or not, they’re going to become brand ambassadors for Jetson,” Ternström said. “We’re selecting people who are established in society and people who have flying experience.”
For those successful buyers who were able to secure one of the dozen vehicles available in 2022, the Jetson ONE came at a price of US$92,000, according to the company’s website, and will be delivered partially assembled. Users will finish assembling more than 50% of the personal eVTOL themselves using detailed build instructions.
Prior to the delivery, Jetson will invite users to its factory in Europe to provide them with a chance to fly the Jetson ONE under the team’s guidance — an experience Ternström feels the buyers will fully enjoy.
“It’s a profoundly exciting and ecstatic feeling to fly [the Jetson ONE],” Ternström said. “It’s completely vibration-free. It makes a little bit of sound, but it’s extremely stable in the air. It’s not like a helicopter at all.”