So-called kit planes – planes that can be assembled at home – have a decades-long tradition, but multicopters have yet to be made. A start-up called Tetra is hoping to change that, with its Mk5 single-seater already in the test phase.
The Japanese company started developing the eVTOL in 2018, which is reminiscent of Airbus’ first prototype, the Vahana: the Tetra Mk5 has a long wing at the nose and tail, and 32 rotors that lift the plane (there is also a propeller at the back of the Mk5).
The plane is powered by a 13.5 kWh battery pack, which the manufacturer claims can fly at speeds of up to 160 km/h for an hour, giving it a range of around 160 kilometres. The aircraft is 8.6 metres wide, 6.1 metres long and 2.5 metres high, weighs just 450 kilograms without a pilot, and is equipped with redundant systems and a parachute for safety.
During the current tests, the Mk5 has been flown remotely without a pilot around Byron airport in California, but the company says that tests with a pilot using joysticks and fly-by-wire electronic controls will begin in the coming months. As mentioned above, the Mk5 is to be sold as a kit plane, meaning that anyone can assemble it at home, but it will of course need to be approved by the relevant aviation authority before it can be flown. If all goes according to plan, the aircraft will start to be delivered to customers at the end of next year, who can pre-order the Mk5 now via the company’s website.