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Workhorse Group Inc., an American technology company focused on changing the way the world works by providing sustainable and cost-effective electric transportation solutions, announced Sept. 18 it has begun the formal process to sell its SureFly operating unit, which is developing a vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Workhorse has engaged investment bank B. Riley FBR to manage the process.
“Now that SureFly is doing hover test flights and has entered into the type certification process with the FAA, we believe it is the ideal time to find a suitable partner or buyer that wishes to lead the eVTOL race,” said Stephen Burns, CEO of Workhorse. “Finding a suitable partner for SureFly will enable Workhorse to continue focusing on its N-GEN electric delivery truck platform as well as our W-15 Electric Pickup Truck.”
In recent years, the global interest in the VTOL market has rapidly increased. The Workhorse team has been working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) throughout the development process and is currently carrying out manned test flights under FAA Experimental Certification.
The SureFly is a two-person hybrid-electric VTOL multi-copter aircraft developed by Workhorse. It is designed to accommodate a pilot and passenger or a pilot and cargo, up to 550 pounds at a speed of about 70 miles per hour, for up to two hours, day or night. The aircraft utilizes a fly-by-wire flight control system designed to maintain the flight envelope of the aircraft.
The aircraft was developed to be quiet, comfortable, practical and, above all else, safe. It has eight independent, electrically-driven props each driving a single carbon fiber propeller powered via a piston or turbine-based generator.
The craft also has a small lithium battery backup to power the motors for a safe descent and landing in the rare event that the generator should fail while in flight. In addition to these redundancies, the SureFly design has a ballistic parachute that works above 100 feet of altitude.
In June 2018, the FAA accepted Workhorse’s application for type certification, an important step forward, as the SureFly design appears to be the first hybrid-electric VTOL multi-copter to reach this important milestone with the FAA.