With Skai, the US company Alaka'i Technologies has now introduced a hydrogen-powered air taxi. This can cover long distances and can be refilled in no time at all.
While two weeks ago the first fully electric air taxi, the Lilium Jet, took off for the first time, the US company Alaka'i Technologies is taking a different route with the Skai baptized air vehicle. In contrast to the models being developed by the competition, this has a hydrogen engine. The fuel cells used should also be 99 percent recyclable.
In addition to the pilot, the Skai, developed in cooperation with the BMW subsidiary Designworks, has room for five people. With a full tank and a full load of passengers, the air taxi is expected to be able to travel up to 650 kilometers. In addition, the empty tank can be refilled within ten minutes and the Skai is ready for use again in no time at all. The six rotors are then used for lift off.
Should the six rotors or other parts of the technology fail in the worst case, Alaka'i Technologies has considered a special safety measure. The company has integrated a large parachute that allows the passenger cabin to glide safely to the ground when the worst comes to the worst.
The market launch is still to come
However, it will take quite some time before the Skai rises into the air with real people on board for the first time. The company based in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, is currently awaiting approval from the US FAA aviation safety authority. Only then can it begin with a practical test flight.
Therefore, Alaka'i (Hawaiian for "leader") does not expect a market launch in the near future. According to Steve Hanvey, CEO of the company, it could take another decade before air taxis can be used for passenger transportation in cities. Here, in addition to the technical implementation, there is still a need for lots of legal regulation work.
Would you sit down for a test flight in a big metal bird like this one?