Home Air First Agility Prime flying car takes off at Texas base

First Agility Prime flying car takes off at Texas base

LIFT Aircraft Hexa
Photo: Air National Guard

A vertical take-off and landing vehicle, or simply a flying car, was the center of attention during a recent demonstration that was attended by high ranking officials at Camp Mabry, Texas.

Secretary of the US Air Force Barbara Barrett, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass came together to witness the advances in electric vertical takeoff and landing flight (eVTOL) on August 20.

LIFT Aircraft, a Texas-based Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract recipient, was the first to deliver a flight demonstration as part of Agility Prime, a non-traditional USAF program seeking to accelerate the commercial market for advanced air mobility vehicles (i.e. flying cars).

Agility Prime also aims to bring together industry, investor, and government communities to establish safety and security standards while accelerating commercialization of this revolutionary technology. The establishment of a rapid contracting mechanism beginning in 2020, coupled with a “Race to Certification” series, is aimed at driving government procurement of operational capability by 2023.

“Agility Prime is a program with a vision of world impact,” Barrett said during the program’s launch in April 2020. “The thought of an electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle — a flying car — might seem straight out of a Hollywood movie, but by partnering today with stakeholders across industries and agencies, we can set up the United States for this aerospace phenomenon.”

In the heat of the afternoon, Matthew Chasen, LIFT chief executive officer, piloted the Hexa over the Camp Mabry parade ground, just a few miles from downtown Austin.

“We now have over fifteen of the leading aircraft manufacturers in the world applying to partner with Agility Prime, with many of them already on contract,” said Col. Nathan Diller, AFWERX director and Agility Prime lead. “This flight today marks the first of many demonstrations and near term flight tests designed to reduce the technical risk and prepare for Agility Prime fielding in 2023.”

Air Force Chief of Staff Charles Q. Brown, Jr., sits in a LIFT Aircraft Hexa aircraft. Photo: Air National Guard