Wisk has resumed flight testing with its self-flying Cora eVTOL aircraft in both the U.S. and New Zealand, the company announced on June 10.
“We are excited to resume test flights following a brief pause due to COVID-19,” stated Gary Gysin, Wisk’s CEO, in a press release. “The team’s dedication over the past few months has allowed us to remain focused on critical non-flight areas, such as certification, software development, and operations. This has allowed us to maintain momentum during this unique time. But it’s awesome to be flying again.”
According to the company’s director of flight test, Carl Engel, Wisk has implemented a number of procedures and social distancing measures to help safeguard the health of its employees as they return to flight testing operations. “Our first priority has always been safety, both for our employees and in the development of our aircraft,” Engel stated.
Before flight testing was paused due to shelter-in-place restrictions related to COVID-19, Wisk had completed more than 1,300 uncrewed test flights with its two-seat, fully electric Cora eVTOLs. Those test flights were used to expand the flight envelope; provide data for model, design, and requirements updates; and mature procedures for safe and efficient operations.
Now, the company said, it plans to “evaluate the performance of the aircraft in a real-world environment, while collecting data that will help inform the further development, operation, safety features, and certification of the aircraft.”
Headquartered in Mountain View, California, Wisk also has extensive flight test operations in Wellington, New Zealand, where it has partnered with the New Zealand government to work toward a passenger-carrying trial using its self-flying air taxis.
In early February, Gysin told eVTOL.com that the company hoped to have a detailed project plan in place with New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority sometime this year. However, he would not commit to a timeline for passenger-carrying flights, saying that Wisk would instead allow the regulator to decide when Cora is “safe and certified” to fly.