Lift Aircraft this week announced the selection of composite material specialist Qarbon Aerospace as the manufacturing partner to build its Hexa electric multicopter. The companies will jointly integrate and assemble composite aerostructures for the personal air vehicle at a facility in Red Oak, Texas, using carbon fiber structures made at a Qarbon Aerospace plant in Thailand.
In a media statement, Qarbon Aerospace said it will handle supply-chain sourcing on behalf of Lift Aircraft. The company makes a variety of composite and metallic structures for aircraft, including fuselages, wings, flight-control surfaces, and engine nacelles.
Lift Aircraft is developing the single-seat electric multicopter to be operated under the FAA's Powered Ultralight rules, primarily for leisure flying. These rules limit the empty weight for the aircraft to 254 pounds and Hexa has a maximum takeoff weight of 423 pounds.
Beyond leisure flying, Lift intends to support short personal flights of up to around 15 miles in a new version of the Hexa that it aims to bring to market. In December 2020, Chasen reported that the Lift team had completed "hundreds" of test flights last year. They also introduced several design changes to the landing gear and floats, as well as the means to fold the airframe for easy storage. According to Chasen, the Texas-based company is producing about one of the vehicles each month and wants to double this rate by the end of 2021. At the end of 2020, Lift reported a waiting list of reservations for the Hexa from 15,000 prospective customers.