Flight automation innovator Skyryse today completed a $200 million Series B funding round. The start-up says it has now raised $250 million to support its plans to certify its FlightOS technology in partnership with Robinson Helicopter and four other manufacturers.
California-based Skyryse said the new investment will accelerate the development of the FlightOS system, starting with its integration on Robinson’s R66 light helicopter. In an October 27 announcement, the company said that its five partner OEMs collectively produce over half of the world’s general aviation aircraft. It said it plans to reveal the identities of the other manufacturers in the coming months.
"We have relationships with many eVTOL companies," Skyryse CEO and founder Mark Groden told FutureFlight. "Our near-term focus is the aircraft that are flying today. To support urban air mobility there will need to be many more pilots and all-weather operations, we will enable both of these."
FlightOS is intended to improve safety by reducing pilot workload and training needs rather than displacing flight crew from aircraft flight decks. According to Skyryse, FlightOS will bring commercial aviation safety standards to general aviation, which it says suffers from safety risks associated with pilot errors and delays in poor weather.
The equipment replaces some of the complex controls in a typical general aviation flight deck with a touchscreen tablet display and a joystick. Fly-by-wire hardware and software handle most of the core piloting functions, according to Skyryse, preventing pilots from inadvertently exceeding safe flight envelopes. The company says that training pilots to interact with FlightOS requires mere minutes.
Fidelity Management & Research Company and Monashee Investment Management led the Series B funding round, with several other venture capital groups participating. Previous backers Venrock, Eclipse Ventures, and Fontinalis Partners also supported the round.
“General aviation hasn’t improved its technology in decades,” commented Rob Broggi, a portfolio manager at Monashee Investment Management. “Technology has the potential to not just make flight safer but to radically change our transportation system. Skyryse is building this future, and their incredible team is leading us into a new era of mobility.”
Skyryse recently appointed former FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and Chris Hart, the former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, as technical advisors. Both industry veterans will provide guidance on the certification process for the FlightOS system.
“The general aviation industry is about to change forever,” said Groden. “We’re on a mission to empower anyone to fly anywhere in any aircraft as safely as the most experienced pilots in the world. Our technology will usher in a new era of mobility, from fighting fires in remote areas to relieving traffic in crowded cities.”