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US Air Force testing unmanned vehicle that ‘anyone can fly’

The aircraft forms part of the U.S. Air Force’s AFWERX Agility Prime project.



Members of Lift Aircraft prepare Lift Aircraft’s Hexa aircraft for a AFWERX Agility Prime project demonstration during Emerald Warrior 22.1 at Hurlburt Field, Florida. (SSgt Taylor Crul/USAF via SWNS).

By Dean Murray via SWNS

The U.S. Air Force is pushing forward with testing of a drone-like flying vehicle.

The Hexa is a single-seat, electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft that resembles a large drone.

It features 18 sets of propellers, motors and batteries, and, as it qualifies it as a powered ultralight by the FAA, requires no pilot's license to fly.

Texas-based Hexa developer Lift Aircraft have been awarded a Phase 3 contract with the Air Force to continue developing what they describe as “an entirely new type of aircraft that anyone can fly.”

In April, the Hexa team completed the vehicle’s first unmanned flight test via remote control at Florida’s Eglin Air Force Base. The aircraft flew for approximately 10 minutes and reached a height of about 50 feet.

Hexa was also demonstrated this month in Florida for Emerald Warrior 22.1, the largest U.S. joint special operations exercise involving U.S. Special Operations Command forces training to respond to various threats across the spectrum of conflict.

Lift Aircraft’s Hexa aircraft from AFWERX Agility Prime project demonstrates its abilities to U.S. Air Force Airmen and Civilian Contractors.(SSgt Taylor Crul/USAF via SWNS)
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The aircraft forms part of the U.S. Air Force’s AFWERX Agility Prime project; a collaborative initiative to work with “the industrial base on testing and experimentation, accelerating development of the commercial electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft industry, enabling resilient distributed logistics and sustainable mobility.”

The U.S. Air Force say the Hexa is located with Eglin’s rotary wing test squadron, the 413th Flight Test Squadron, who manage the program under its Agility Prime flight. The unit provides the coordination, logistics and support for the Lift team’s developmental ground and flight testing operations.

“This is an opportunity to leverage some of the unit’s expertise with rotary aircraft and apply it to this new field of electric propulsion aircraft,” said Maj. Riley Livermore, 413th FLTS futures flight commander.

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