A pilot dressed in an Elvis costume recently cruised the Vegas strip—in a one-person eVTOL. The event happened during CES earlier this month when the Ryse Recon made multiple flights from the Las Vegas convention center to show off the electric aircraft’s flight-readiness.
Flying Elvis was a way to supersize publicity, says Ryse CEO Mick Kowitz. “It took a lot of time to secure the filming permits and work with different state and city agencies,” he told Robb Report. “But it was worth the effort. We had people stopping in the streets staring up at us.”
The bright-lights, big-city display turned into a great way to highlight the Recon, a one-person eVTOL that is intended primarily for non-urban use. The design looks more simple and unassuming than competitors like the Jetson One or RotorX Dragon, but comes with similar technology and flight stats.
With six independent electric motors and batteries, the aircraft can climb to 10,000 feet, but is typically flown at 100 to 125 feet above ground level, with a self-restricted top speed of 63 mph. At a cruising speed of 35 knots, it will have a projected range of about 10 miles for a 25-minute run.
Despite the Sin City introduction, the Recon is designed for rural use. “We see it working large vineyards, farms or ranches,” says Kowitz. On the weekends, using the optional vehicle-tow package, the aircraft can be transported to wilderness areas for camping or hunting. The Recon also has six outrigger floats, meaning it can land on small lakes or big ponds.
The 286-lb. Recon falls under the FAA’s ultralight category, requiring no pilot’s license, but with a weight restriction of 250 lbs. Six individual motors and propellers, all independently controlled, hover and fly the aircraft, offering redundancy in case one motor fails. “It’s designed for non-pilots who don’t need to understand aerodynamics,” says Kowitz. “The two control sticks are designed for very simplified operations—similar to using a backhoe.”
The avionics include integrated GPS, inertial navigation systems and attitude reference and heading systems. Recon also has joystick controls and a touchscreen that work independently of each other, again for redundancy. “The console’s Bluetooth-enabled so you can make phone calls on it,” says Kowitz.
Ryse has plans to start production in the third quarter, and is now taking reservations on its website. The Ohio production facility will build 100 units this year, says Kowitz, and ramp up to 1,000 next year. “Initially, we’ll sell direct to consumers but we’re setting up farm and sports distribution channels in our primary target markets,” he says.