First Successful Piloted Demonstration Flight of a Flying Car in Japan

Mar. 14, 2023
Marubeni Corporation

Marubeni Corporation (hereinafter, “Marubeni”) has completed the first piloted*1 demonstration flight in Japan of “HEXA,” a one-person Electrical Vehicle Take-off and Landing Aircraft (hereinafter, “eVTOL”) developed and manufactured by U.S.-based LIFT Aircraft Inc. (hereinafter, “LIFT”). HEXA successfully completed a number of piloted-flight pattern maneuvers, including vertical flight and circular flight, at the Osaka Castle Baseball Field*2.

A “HEXA” flying car A “HEXA” flying car

This demonstration flight was selected for the Osaka Prefectural Government’s FY2022 Subsidy for Urban Business Creation Flying Car Projects *3 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. This demonstration flight using an actual flying car was conducted with the aim of enhancing receptivity among the public regarding flying cars by promoting their usability, convenience, and potential applications in creating new business and expanding existing business. Under the support of  Demonstration Promotion Team Osaka, with a membership comprised of representatives from the Osaka Prefectural Government, Osaka City Government, and the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, all planned maneuvers as part of the demonstration flight were successfully completed while being overseen by the many related parties.

Marubeni has been deepening its ties with LIFT since 2021 towards the development of eVTOL for the Japanese market to increase public receptivity and create an ecosystem for eVTOL deployment in Japan. LIFT is a manufacturer of single-occupancy aircraft founded in Texas, United States, in 2017. The company has partnered with the U.S. Air Force for plans to  conduct a special program involving paid flights aimed at the general public in 25 cities across the U.S. starting from 2023.

Marubeni and LIFT will accelerate efforts toward the early realization of flying cars to create a society where air travel is safer and more accessible, while simultaneously contributing to climate change mitigation measures, including low-carbon and decarbonization initiatives.

*1 Piloted by a veteran pilot with knowledge of standard aircraft, flight legislation, weather conditions and operations, and certified as an official pilot by LIFT after undergoing their in-house training and passing their test
*2 Conducted in Osaka Castle Baseball Field with permission of the Civil Aviation Bureau  
*3 Selected with the joint venture company Chodai Co., Ltd. (People, Dreams & Technologies Group)

LIFT Overview:  
Company Name: LIFT Aircraft Inc.
Established: 2017
Founder & CEO: Matthew Chasen
Location: Austin, Texas in the U.S.
Website: https://www.liftaircraft.com/
Business: Development, manufacture, and sale of single-occupancy ultralight aircraft
Size of Body: Wide 4.5m Hight 2.6m
Total Weight / Initial Allowance: Max. 488lbs (about 221kg) / 250lbs (about 113kg)
Cruising Speed: 20-55kts (about 40-100km/h)
Flight Time: about 10-15 min.