The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

Heaviside has been the main focus of Kittyhawk's efforts to develop an eVTOL personal air vehicle since it stopped work on another single-seat model called the Flyer. The California-based company has consistently refused to provide any information about the development timeline for the all-electric aircraft. In June 2020, it laid off 70 staff as part of the reorganization to focus entirely on the Heaviside project.

Kitty Hawk claims that Heaviside will be "100 times quieter" than existing helicopters. It said that in test flights it has demonstrated sound levels of 35 dBA at 1,500 feet and claimed that this will mean almost no noise will be heard from the aircraft within 30 seconds of takeoff. The company says that flight testing of what appears to be a technology demonstrator has achieved a range of 100 miles and speeds of up to 180 mph (while maintaining one-quarter of the charge in its batteries for safety reserves). One of its development aircraft crashed on October 17, 2019, in an accident that investigators from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board concluded was caused by software timing errors compromising flight controls.

Kittyhawk is also a joint venture partner with Boeing in Wisk, which is developing the Cora eVTOL aircraft for planned air taxi operations.

On March 2, 2021, the company announced it was working with Denmark-based healthcare group Falck to begin developing a medical support version of the Heaviside eVTOL aircraft. Falck hopes to improve emergency response time while reducing the cost of medical flights. Kittyhawk, to date, has built 13 prototype aircraft with more than 700 test flights under its belt. Still, the company remains secretive about its development timeline for the long-running Heaviside program.

On July 9, 2021, Heaviside became the next eVTOL design to be issued military airworthiness by the U.S. Airforce, allowing Kittyhawk to earn revenue through the U.S Air Force conducted Agility Prime research and development program.

On January 24 2022, U.S. Air Force Captain Terrence McKenna was announced as the first USAF officer to control a remotely piloted eVTOL aircraft under the direct control of the government after he took the controls of a Heaviside prototype in December 2021.

On September 21, Kittyhawk used Twitter to announce its intention to "wind down" the company, saying it was "still working on what's next."  As of September 28, the company still had made no further announcements about its future or that of the Heaviside program. 


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

Since Kittyhawk spun off its Cora eVTOL aircraft into the new Wisk joint venture with Boeing, it has been unclear what will become of its Heaviside personal air vehicle. The company, which is backed by Google co-founder Larry Page, has already stopped work on another model called the Flyer and laid off around 70 staff in June 2020.

Boeing's September 2020 announcement that it is closing its Boeing NeXt advanced technology division raised further doubts about Wisk's future, although the company insists the Cora program will continue. Kittyhawk has made no public statements about its long term plans beyond releasing some video of Heaviside test flights conducted in 2019.

News that Danish emergency medical service provider Falck has signaled its intention to use Heaviside in its operations appears to have given the program some fresh impetus, although details of the collaboration remain vague.

Kittyhawk's abrupt announcement in late September 2022 that the company would be wound down caught the advanced air mobility sector by surprise. Reportedly, company staff only found out about the move on the day news broke via Twitter. Still to be resolved is what this means for Kittyhawk's stake (with partner Boeing) in eVTOL aircraft developer Wisk Aero.

Heaviside Models

Heaviside Specifications

Optionally-piloted vtol Tiltrotor


  • Passenger Capacity
  • Range
    100 mi
  • Cruise Speed
    180 mph
  • Powerplant Type
  • Power Source
  • Endurance
  • Max Altitude
    5,000 ft
  • Takeoff Distance
  • Landing Distance
  • Empty Weight
    826 lb
  • Payload Weight


  • Length
  • Width
  • Height
  • Wingspan
    20 ft

The Heaviside tiltrotor aircraft has eight electric motors, powering eight propellers. Six of the tilting propellers are located on the rear edge of the main wing, with two more on a forward canard.

During flight testing, it has demonstrated range of 100 miles and speeds of up to 180 mph, with one quarter of available electric charge remaining in its batteries for safety reserves. 

The improbably-branded aircraft is reportedly named after 19th century British electrical engineer Oliver Heaviside, who pioneered circuit analysis.

Key Personnel

Sebastian Thrun
Sebastian Thrun


Michael Huerta