American company Ryse Aerotech has released video of its first manned flight test, undertaken back in June. The Recon eVTOL is pitched as a buy ‘n’ fly ultralight aircraft that farmers and ranchers can put to immediate use without a pilot’s license.
Like the Jetson One, this is electric VTOL in its most basic form: a drone-style six-prop multicopter with a single seat in the middle. The aluminum-framed Recon weighs 130 kg (286 lb), and lifts an occupant up to 91 kg (200 lb). Battery endurance is up to 25 minutes, depending on the weight of the pilot and the prevailing wind conditions, and this thing will fly at speeds up to 58 mph (93 km/h) flat out – with a comfortable cruising speed closer to 40 mph (65 km/h).
The control scheme is extremely simple: a pair of joysticks like you might use to fly a drone – and the Recon’s flight control module is enhanced with obstacle sense and avoid tech, and the capability to limit your max altitude to a (frankly very scary) 700 ft (213 m) above ground level. Indeed, the company is doing its best to make the experience of flying the Recon as boring as possible, according to Daily Beast reporter Tony Ho Tran, who took the controls himself for a brief test drive.
It’s not designed for urban use or commuting; Ryse hopes it’s a practical way for people to get about large plots of land. A quad bike in the sky, if you will, that can get across topographically interesting ground with extreme ease and get farmers to any far corner of their property to solve problems quicker than anything else.
Mind you, the sleek carbon body doesn’t exactly look gumboot-ready or easy to hose out, there doesn’t appear to be much room for a heavy toolbox, hay bale or vet kit, and it’ll likely be restricted to use in fair weather with low wind conditions, so its uses will definitely be limited. And that’s not to mention the safety concerns of flying in a big drone, or indeed the price tag, which Tran reports is targeted to be around US$150,000 when the Recon makes its full commercial launch next year.
Still, it’s off the ground and flying with a person in it, as you can see in the video below, and we certainly hope these kinds of machines will find their place in productive society as something more than leisure toys.
Ryse Recon manned flight
Source: Ryse Aerotech