Kitty Hawk’s new eVTOL is “barely discernible to the human ear”
Kitty Hawk, the Mountain View, California-based eVTOL manufacturer has revealed a third experimental aircraft concept named Heaviside – a vertical take-off and landing craft which prioritises quiet flight.
The previous eVTOL concepts from the Californian start-up include the electric sport aircraft Flyer and its flagship air-taxi prototype Cora which is co-developed with Boeing.
The unique selling point for Heaviside is its quietness. Kitty Hawk released a proof-of-concept video comparing the noise from 1500ft between what appears to be a single-engine helicopter (60dBA) and the simulated Heaviside which it claims will be approximately 38dBA.
“Once in the air, the vehicle blends into the background noise of a city or suburb, barely discernible to the human ear. Heaviside can travel from San Jose to San Francisco in 15 minutes and uses less than half the energy of a car,” the website claims.
One of the main barriers to similar low-altitude vehicles entering the air space in large numbers is concern over noise pollution. As a result, there is increasing pressure on eVTOL manufacturers developing aircraft that will fly near or over-populated areas to make them as quiet as possible.
Whilst specifications of the Heaviside have not been revealed, the aircraft looks to generate lift from six propellers, take off vertically and tilting the rotors to generate forward thrust. The aircraft appears to be being flown remotely in the video, like test flights of Kitty Hawk’s prior aircraft prototypes.
Heaviside takes its name from renowned physicist and electrical engineer Oliver Heaviside whose work in mathematics, electronics and communication were central to many technological advances in the 20th century.
So far, Kitty Hawk has registered eight ‘Heaviside 2’ tail numbers with the FAA – N220HV through to N227HV. The aircraft type was initially registered on 26 January 2018 under the ‘Heaviside’ model name. The first variant of the Heaviside was deregistered in September 2018 and the Heaviside 2 was registered in November last year.