by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian J. McNabb
In a significant step forward for personal air mobility, San Mateo-based flying car company Alef Aeronautics recently announced that its “Model A” vehicle has received a Special Airworthiness Certificate from the FAA. While the “Special” certificate limits the areas and purposes for which the Model A can fly, this is the first time a vehicle in this class has received legal approval for flight. In their press release, Jim Dukhovny, the CEO of Alef, said, “We’re excited to receive this certification from the FAA. It allows us to move closer to bringing people an environmentally friendly and faster commute, saving individuals and companies hours each week. This is one small step for planes, one giant step for cars,”
The Model A, set to begin production in 2025, is one of the highest-profile eVTOLs with on-the-road functionality, making it a uniquely flexible approach to the advanced air mobility space. With a road range of around 200 miles, plus 110 miles in the air, the Model A is both an all-wheel drive, road-legal 2-seater and a fully-fledged eVTOL, with advanced stabilization and safety technology including triple-to-octo redundancy of all key components and real-time thousand point diagnostics, pre-flight reject start diagnostics, obstacle detection, and avoidance.
Since emerging from stealth in late 2022, Alef has been garnering significant buzz for its new design, with support from people like Tim Draper, an early Tesla and Google investor. The Model A is available for consumer and commercial preorder at a $300,000 price point, and Alef announced that they’d sold 440 of them as of January, with a large portion going to an unnamed Hong Kong-based mobility company. Meanwhile, the FAA has continued to explore the Advanced Air Mobility space, recently attending a demonstration from Archer Aviation, showing the important role regulators play in the evolution of the rapidly-evolving new sector.
Ian McNabb is a staff writer based in Boston, MA. His interests include geopolitics, emerging technologies, environmental sustainability, and Boston College sports.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
Subscribe to DroneLife here.