2021 brought with it considerable milestones for our startup. Of course, one of the biggest questions we’ve gotten over the past year has been, “When can I fly?” While we're monitoring the latest Omicron wave and CDC travel and event guidance, we’re excited to share that we’re on track to launch customer flights - including our 25-city US Tour - in 2022. This would make us one of the first eVTOL operators and you, one of the first eVTOL pilots in the world. Many of you have been with us since the early days. Over the past 4 years, we’ve made a lot of progress, and there’s more to come. Thanks for being a part of the mission: a future where anyone can fly.
Below, you’ll find a few highlights from the past year.
HEXA made a historic flight this spring inside the University of Texas DKR - Texas Memorial Stadium as part of a showcase of military technology and innovation. This was an epic opportunity to demonstrate HEXA for some of our nation’s top military leaders, including the Vice Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Col. Nathan Diller, lead for the Air Force’s Agility Prime Initiative.
We also demonstrated the aircraft as part of the NASA National Campaign in Ohio. Governor of Ohio, Mike DeWine, commented, “The LIFT Aircraft that we see today represent the emergence of incredible technology that has the potential to transform our lives, just as the Wright brothers did more than 117 years ago.” It was a privilege to be a part of NASA’s mission to accelerate the realization of advanced air mobility.
HEXA is in Production.
In June, we announced a manufacturing partnership with Qarbon Aerospace. Qarbon is a Tier-1 aerospace supplier that creates components for the F-35 Lightning II and the V22 Osprey. Now, they’re lending their expertise to building HEXA. “We’re very proud that LIFT has placed their confidence in us to support them as the manufacturer of choice for their first-to-market eVTOL aircraft,” said Qarbon CEO, Pete Wick.
First Vertiport Location.
We selected, designed, and received FAA approval for our first eVTOL Vertiport location where we will provide training, pay-per-flight rentals, ground and flight control support. Construction for the Austin, TX location will begin in 2022. We plan to launch in 28 markets by 2025, building the first and largest global network of eVTOL vertiports.
Agility Prime & Airworthiness.
The Air Force continues to be incredibly supportive through their Agility Prime Initiative. Early this year, LIFT received airworthiness approval for unmanned flight test under contract. This is an important vote of confidence, especially as we conduct our final safety reviews before customer flights.
We tested the transportability of the aircraft by flying it on a C-130 Hercules. We also began training development with servicemembers and conducted a thorough study of safety alongside experts at Eglin Air Force Base using STPA, an advanced safety protocol developed by MIT.
Research & Discovery with First Responders.
We engaged with multiple municipalities to identify use cases and the concept of operations. They told us that with the ability to make every first responder a pilot, HEXA could vastly improve response times. We've shown the aircraft to over 50 first responders from a variety of agencies and are looking forward to forming partnerships in this space.
We also formalized a key advisory role for Johnny Doo, the Head of NASA’s Vertical Flight Working Group, who commented, “LIFT’s modular HEXA platform can help save thousands of lives every year. Their eVTOL aircraft enables countless missions for federal, state, and local government agency first responders. I can’t wait.”
Raised Additional Rounds of Funding.
We closed on a third round of venture funding with fantastic new institutional investors and participation from our existing VC’s. We also expanded the opportunity to invest to all of our fans and supporters through a Reg CF crowdfunding campaign. At LIFT, we’re about democratizing flight, and we’re also about democratizing investing.
We’re excited to enter the new year with more than 1,000 new investors. The campaign is still running - check us out on StartEngine!
It’s been a big year for LIFT, and there’s plenty more to come in 2022. We're grateful for your support and we wish you and yours a healthy and safe year ahead. We can’t wait to fly with you!