Surefly: Up, Up and Away
By Maureen McDonald
The Auto Channel
Detroit January 14, 2019; It’s a bird, it’s a helicopter, it’s a drone – this is the Surefly Aero, a helicopter designed to relieve urban congestion and long country commutes with an affordable, easy-to-operate machine. The hybrid electric vehicle with a 200-hp gas generator is on display at the North American International Auto Show among the traditional cars and trucks still stuck on the ground.
Author J.D. Robb could stage her futuristic crime novels with this four-propeller, 70 mph helicopter that will retail for $200,000 when the company, Workhorse.com, clears all its Federal Aviation Agency requirements, according to Elliot Bokeno, product spokesperson.
“This should be a whole lot easier to fly than a traditional plane or helicopter,” Bokeno says. There’s only a couple computer screens and a joystick, not much more complicated than an Xbox, compared with a small aircraft with controls, levers and pedals that fill up every square inch of the craft. Bokeno expects the certification for pilots may be far simpler because of its user-friendly controls.
Bokeno steps around, kicking the small tires as though a car salesperson. He notes the two electric contra-rotating propellers powered by a gas turbine or piston engine generator along with a battery pack. The two-seater vehicle can lift a 400 lb. payload and include a ballistic parachute, according to Wikipedia. It can fly up to 4,000 feet, and land anywhere, even a driveway if the neighborhood or city doesn’t have restrictions to such crafts.
The notion of a vertical craft powered with hybrid technology emerged from Workhorse CEO Steve Burns. He wanted the Cincinnati based company to develop something he could drive his sons to school without getting stalled in traffic. The firm supplies electric-powered trucks to industry.
Surefly has made its debuts at a Paris flight show, the LA Auto Show and the Consumer Electronics show. Never know when it might fly over your neighborhood, with a pilot encouraging you to climb onboard.