Osaka, Japan – March 2023 – LIFT Aircraft (www.liftaircraft.com) made history this week, completing the first-ever piloted eVTOL demonstration flights in Japan with their aircraft, HEXA. The flights were conducted in partnership with Marubeni Corporation, with whom the Austin, Texas based company is partnering to develop and advance the eVTOL market in Japan, and with participation from GMO Internet Group.
The demonstration was selected for the Osaka Prefectural Government’s FY2022 Subsidy for Urban Business Creation Flying Car Projects and as a Candidate Demonstrator for Expo 2025, a project of the Japan Association for the 2025 World Exposition and the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Flights were conducted for audiences that included the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB), the aviation authority of Japan. While HEXA conforms to FAA Part 103 and can be flown in the U.S. today without aircraft type certification or a pilot’s license, Japan does not have an equivalent regulation. JCAB carefully reviewed the safety of the aircraft, the extensiveness and maturity of the test program, the flight envelope, and ultimately gave permission for the demonstrations to proceed.
“JCAB was thorough in their review of our safety standards and our aircraft, and gave us the green light to fly,” said Matt Chasen, founder and CEO of LIFT Aircraft. “It’s an honor that our aircraft was selected to be the first eVTOL ever piloted in Japan.”
LIFT has formally concluded Phase 1 flight test and beginner flight envelope development with the U.S. Air Force and has launched Alpha Flights, allowing people outside of their Flight Operations and Test teams to fly.
With Osaka Castle as the backdrop, Alpha Flights were included in the demonstrations this week. After about an hour of training and introduction to the aircraft, Masatoshi Kumagai of GMO Internet Group piloted HEXA, successfully completing three flight patterns. Nine flights were completed in Osaka, and LIFT and Marubeni are continuing their Japan demo tour Niihama and Imabari next week.
Chasen remarked, “This is a strong indication to the world, and especially the thousands on our waitlist, that they will have the opportunity to fly very soon.”