The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

In April 2021, California-based start-up NFT (New Future Transportation) unveiled a significant redesign of its Aska hybrid-electric flying car, which has replaced the model it first introduced at the EcoMotion show in June 2019. The company describes the hybrid-electric Aska as a flying car or an SUV but intends to certify the aircraft under the FAA’s Part 23 rules. Its maximum takeoff weight is reported as being between two and three metric tons (4,400 to 6,600 pounds), making it too heavy to be certified in the light sport aircraft category.

Superficially, the new Aska looks more like similarly-sized eVTOL designs now being advanced by companies such as Joby Aviation and Archer. However, since it is intended to be driven on roads, it has wings that tilt and fold to deploy a pair of propellers that can be used for vertical and cruise flight. There are four other sets of vertical-lift propellers on beams that can also extend and retract to transition between flight and drive modes.

Each of the six propellers will have its own electric motor. Supplementary power comes from what NFT describes as an “engine generator” that will run on regular gasoline to constantly recharge batteries. According to the company, the generator is an engine already certified for use on an aircraft, but it will not reveal the identity of the supplier. The projected range is 250 miles.

In March 2020, NFT was one of six companies selected to join NASA’s Urban Air Mobility Grand Challenge, along with Joby, Bell, Boeing, Prodentity, and Zeva. The company is aiming to have a full-scale prototype ready to start flight testing as part of this program in 2022 as it prepares to complete type certification in time to start deliveries in 2026. It says that it has already flown an unmanned subscale model.

NFT was founded in 2018 by entrepreneurs Maki Kaplinsky (COO) and Guy Kaplinsky (CEO). They have self-funded development work so far but recently started seeking outside investment to raise the estimated $1 billion that they say they'll need to bring the Aska to market. As of April 2021, NFT had around 35 employees and says that these include experienced engineers from companies including Gulfstream, Sikorsky, and Mitsubishi Aircraft. It also has recruited from several automotive companies. 

In February 2022, NFT announced it is partnering with India's Tech Mahindra for engineering support that it says will support efforts to certify the Aska in 2026. Tech Mahindra has extensive experience as an engineering partner for automotive and aerospace companies, including Airbus and Spike Aerospace. NFT has said it aims to start flying a full-scale prototype of the Aska by the end of 2022.

Timeline

Projected

type certification granted

The Aska is expected to be certified under FAA's Part 23 rules.

Projected

test flight

NFT intends to complete a first flight with a full-scale prototype of the Aska flying car by the end of 2022.

test flight

The first test flight of NFT's Aska flying car was supposed to happen before the end of the first quarter of 2020. However, as of June 2020, the company had yet to report the start of flight testing. 

Outlook

Our objective assessment of this program’s probable success.

FutureFlight assesses the probability of success for a new aircraft program by considering the following criteria:

  • Total investment funds available in proportion to the anticipated cost of getting an aircraft certified and in service
  • A company’s in-house capability (in terms of numbers of engineers, technical staff, and customer support teams)
  • The past experience of the company and its senior leadership in developing aircraft
  • The caliber and past experience of key program partners
  • Whether key aircraft systems have been selected and are available for use
  • Whether the preliminary design review has been completed
  • Whether the design for the full-scale prototype has been completed
  • Whether the type certification process has been formally initiated with an appropriate regulator
  • Whether the company has achieved a first flight with a full-scale prototype
  • The number of hours logged in a flight test program
  • Whether type certification has been achieved
  • The number of orders and commitment received for the aircraft
  • Whether the company has adequate facilities to begin series production of the aircraft
Our Methodology

After working on a smaller design for a flying car that was first introduced in 2019, the unveiling of a new design for the Aska in April 2021 marked a significant turning point in NFT's plans for what it sees as a robust market for personal transportation eVTOL vehicles. With the look and capacity of an SUV, the Aska is markedly different from many other flying car concepts. The small Californian company's ambitious plans to complete Part 23 type certification in 2026 were boosted by a partnership agreement with India's Tech Mahindra group in February 2022. At that point, the company said it is in the process of a further fund-raising round. 

Aska Models

Aska Specifications

local stol Flying Car/Hover Bike

Performance

  • Passenger Capacity
    4
  • Range
    250 mi
  • Cruise Speed
    150 mph
  • Powerplant Type
    multi rotor
  • Power Source
    hybrid_fe
  • Endurance
    n/a
  • Max Altitude
    n/a
  • Takeoff Distance
    n/a
  • Landing Distance
    n/a
  • Empty Weight
    n/a
  • MGTOW
    n/a
  • Payload Weight
    n/a

Dimensions

  • Length
    n/a
  • Width
    n/a
  • Height
    n/a
  • Wingspan
    40 ft

Aska is a flying car with tilting wings that allow it to be driven on roads. The hybrid-electric four-seat will have range of up to 250 miles when operated in eSTOL mode and will have a turbine engine that recharges batteries in flight.