It has long been rumored that Google co-founder Larry Page wants to build flying cars. A patent filing several years ago showed details of a possible flying car in the works by Page’s company Zee Aero. Now Page is behind an interesting alternative to the flying car: an extremely lightweight personal aircraft that doesn’t require a pilot’s license to operate.
Kitty Hawk, a Page-backed company that includes Zee Aero, has just revealed an all-electric aircraft prototype that reportedly weighs just 220 pounds. The prototype was designed for recreational flying over water and is legal to operate in the U.S. Kitty Hawk says it takes just minutes to learn how to operate the one-seater aircraft, which falls under the Ultralight category of FAA regulations and therefore doesn’t require a pilot’s license or registration.
A production version of the Kitty Hawk Flyer will go on sale by the end of the year, although it could look quite different from the working prototype. It should also be quieter during operation as well. “We hope that this is more of an exciting concept than what most people have had in their minds about flying cars,” Kitty Hawk engineer Cameron Robertson told The New York Times. “This is not yet that product in terms of what we will say and what it can do, but I think it demonstrates a vision of the future.”
Although it hasn’t created a bonafide flying car, Kitty Hawk isn’t the only company reinventing the aircraft space. Earlier this year, Dutch company PAL-V started taking orders for its commercial flying car that can operate on the road and in the sky. Uber and Airbus are also looking toward a future with flying cars.
Watch Kitty Hawk’s video below to see just how fun it looks.