Tetra Aviation’s new Mk 5 personal eVTOL vehicle has begun flight testing in California, having recently secured a special airworthiness certificate from the FAA. The Japanese company, which already has clearance to fly the model as an experimental aircraft from its own government’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism, now has full clearance for testing in the U.S., including the FAA’s certificate of waiver, which was approved after a document review and on-site inspection.
Initial unmanned flight testing is being conducted at Byron Airport, 60 miles east of San Francisco. Tetra is planning to conduct manned flight tests as it prepares to start deliveries of the Mk 5 as a kit airplane in late 2022. The company says it has been taking reservations from prospective customers since the aircraft made a public debut at July’s EAA AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Tetra CEO Tasuku Nakai told FutureFlight that his plan is to eventually certify the all-electric Mk 5 under Part 23 rules. It can carry a single operator weighing no more than 200 pounds for flights of up to 100 miles.
The aircraft features 16 pairs of electric motors installed in nacelles across a pair of wings, with each nacelle having small vertical lift propellers. To support cruise flight, there is also a pusher propeller at the rear of the fuselage.
The new eVTOL design builds on the earlier Mk 3 quadcopter hoverbike that Tetra also intends to bring to the market. This hybrid-electric single-seater, which won last year’s Boeing-sponsored Go Fly competition, has a range of just 30 miles and is described as a racing model.