Doroni Aerospace has successfully completed the first piloted flight test of its H1 personal eVTOL aircraft, the company announced Wednesday. According to Doroni, this was the first flight test of any two-seat personal eVTOL aircraft in the U.S., marking a significant milestone for what the company calls the “flying car” industry and market.
While a handful of companies developing so-called “flying cars” are focused on drive-and-fly vehicles that can also operate on roads, Doroni’s creation is simply an eVTOL aircraft with a sleek, sports car-like design. The vehicle’s propulsion system has eight electric motors driving ducted fans that are fitted in a main wing and a canard, plus a pair of small pusher propellers behind the fuselage.
Over the past few months, Doroni has flown its full-scale technology demonstrator more than 50 times without a pilot on board. On July 3, Doroni founder and CEO Doron Merdinger became the first person to pilot the aircraft. The flight test took place indoors at Doroni’s 13,000-square-foot facility in Pompano Beach, Florida. During the test, Merdinger successfully took off, hovered, and did some minor maneuvering before gently landing the aircraft.
“It felt like floating on a cushion of air, experiencing a level of freedom and excitement that is unparalleled,” Merdinger said. “This is just the beginning for us, and I cannot contain my anticipation to deliver these incredible vehicles to the world. The technology we have developed is truly unlike anything else in the aerospace industry, and it is poised to revolutionize personal transportation in ways we could only dream of before."
Merdinger previously told FutureFlight that the full-scale technology demonstrator resembles the final product, although the company is making some changes to the airframe and wings that he said will make the aircraft safer and more efficient. Doroni has already begun building a second prototype that it expects to complete in August.
Doroni says the $195,000 aircraft will have a range of up to 60 miles (100 kilometers) on a single charge and will cruise at about 100 mph (160 kph). The company is certifying it under the FAA’s light sport aircraft category, which means operators would not need a pilot’s license to fly it. H1 owners will need to complete only 15 hours of training and five solo flight hours. Doroni expects to begin delivering the aircraft to customers in 2024, shortly after it is certified.
While Doroni may be the first company to fly a two-seat eVTOL aircraft with a pilot on board, it's far from the only company to flight test an eVTOL aircraft intended for personal use. In Ohio, a company called Ryse has done extensive flight testing with its single-seat Recon aircraft, which it refers to as a "flying ATV." California-based Opener is also flight testing its single-seat BlackFly eVTOL aircraft. Air, an Israeli company developing a two-seat eVTOL called the Air One, plans to begin piloted flight tests this year.