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The first light eVTOL from RYSE Aero Technologies, the RYSE RECON, flies below FAA regulations. It provides ways for non-pilots to fly into remote areas. Auto Futures talks to CEO, Mick Kowitz, who details how the aircraft is designed with AI and safety features that allow someone to learn how to fly it in a day.
The RECON is ultralight aircraft such as a glider with a parachute which is dangerous. The RECON weighs 255 pounds, and it only goes 63 miles per hour. It falls into the Class G airspace, which means 700 feet above the ground is as high as flyers can go, where there are no airports, says Kowitz.
“I am a private pilot. But I am also an engineer and I do artificial intelligence. My experience and background are in artificial intelligence,” says Kowitz.
RECON can not be flown in a highly congested area. There are controls in place.
RECON is an Internet of Things (IoT) device with tracking. RYSE tracks the weather and will not allow flights in bad weather. Due to FAA requirements, there is no flying in bad weather or at night.
“We built RECON with all the redundancies, all the safety features, everything that you can imagine to make it as safe as possible. It has six propellers. If you lose the propeller, you are still flying. The propulsion modules are all independent. The idea is, nothing is going break permanently.” He notes that it floats on water.
There is a seatbelt and a cushion. Flyers are protected up to 20 feet of a dead drop. There is a ballistic suit available. Flyers wear a helmet and a special jacket with radio controls in it. There are LIDAR and GNSS sensors. A laser sensor tells RYSE how close the aircraft is to things.
“We are building RECON for the commercial market. We are selling into farming, ranching, national forest rescue, air rescue, vineyards and local park services,” he says.
Learning to Fly in 5/6 Hours
The RECON will fly 25 miles before it needs to be recharged, which is further than people realise. For recovery a farmer needs more than 10 miles out and 10 miles back. In LA County, for example, first responders travel five miles.
The RECONs are made in Cincinnati, Ohio and cost $150,000 per aircraft.
RECONs are economical compared to similar aircraft. For example, the RECON could do offshore to oil rig work, where they use multimillion-dollar helicopters. But with five or six RECONs, people could fly back and forth to the ships easier, says Kowitz.
He says the RECON can handle strong gusts of wind and are pretty quiet. A helicopter is about 72 decibels at 30 or 40 meters. The RECON is about 60 decibels. If it is as high as a palm tree, you will not hear it.
To learn to fly the RECON there is a simulator for it. Ten flights in the vehicle for some short runs are necessary before flyers are allowed to operate a RECON.
“We can teach you in probably five or six hours, most of the time,” Kowitz says, “We can put you in it and you can fly tomorrow.”
RYSE will produce RECON aircraft in the first quarter of 2023.
They are currently doing tests – human test flights with finalized engines. The company will be working with five partners for three months.
“We will live with them at their farms and ranches. We are working with them to learn where the problems are. While we are doing that, we will be getting our manufacturing process ready,” says Kowitz.
“We have other versions, we are planning with fixed wings so that it can fly further.”