When the Swedish company Jetson Aero launched their Jetson ONE one-person aircraft, consumer interest was huge. By June 2022, their entire year´s production of the Jetson ONE for 2022 was sold out and the company only accepted orders for production in 2023. That was despite the fact that this gadget was not something that you could buy with your spare change: it came with a $92,000 price tag and buyers were required to make a $22,000 down payment just to place their order. And those numbers were before tax and destination charges. One day of flight training is included in the price, but you have to complete assembly of the aircraft – that is not done by manufacturer.
Still, it is not difficult to understand why someone would like to own a one-seater fully electric aircraft weighing just 190 lbs. It is powered by electric motors and has a flight time of 20 minutes. It was designed to fly and land safely even if one of its motors fails, but has also been fitted with a rapid-deploying ballistic parachute – just in case.
In a video released by Jetson Aero, the company co-founder Tomasz Patan can be seen flying his Jetson ONE between his home and his office. According to Patan, who normally commutes to work by car on public roads, flying the Jetson ONE removes 90% of his normal commute time.
Jetson Aero was founded in November 2017 by Peter Ternström and Tomasz Patan. Ternström is a renowned entrepreneur in the high-performance car niche, while Patan is a drone specialist, and the result of their combined skills and vision is the Jetson ONE.
The Jetson ONE is manufactured under FAA rules.
According to Jetson Aero, no pilot license is required to pilot it in the United States.
“It’s not a fixed wing airplane. It’s not a helicopter. It’s hard to define? So right now, it sits in a grey zone,” Ternstrom explained in an interview. “It’s not illegal to fly, but it’s not legal either.”
However, ff the legal system would consider the Jetson ONE an ultra-light aircraft, which is likely, a sports pilot license or similar would be required.
You may also be required to complete a course on airspace restrictions and learn how to utilize a flight GPS device before you can legally fly your Jetson ONE in the United States. Examples of important airspace restrictions are the ones banning these crafts from flying over densely populated areas and near airports.
A highly-automated software system
The Jetson ONE comes with a highly-automated software system that makes it fairly easy to fly, even for someone without previous experience with ultra-light aircraft. According to the manufacturer, the flight computer and flight control system are the most important innovations in the craft.
Terrain tracking and obstacle avoidance (e.g. to stay away from power lines and tall structures) is made possible by the Lidar sensor system.
Worried about the landing? Fortunately, the Jetson One includes an auto-landing system. When you cut the throttle to zero, the craft lands itself.
What is an eVTOL?
VTOL aircraft = Vertical-take-off-and-landing aircraft
eVTOL aircraft = A vertical-take-off-and-landing aircraft that uses electric power to take off, hover and land vertically. The Jetson ONE is one example of a eVTOL.
The concept of eVTOL got a lot of attention in November 2009, when a video regarding the proposed single-person Puffin eVTOL from NASA went viral. In January 2010, NASA achieved the first flight with a one-third scale demonstration model of the Puffin.
The Puffin concept relied on Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), a new technology developed by NASA. In September 2010, NASA also released information about the NASA Puffin Electric Tailsitter VTOL concept and the Puffin Redundant Electric Powertrain System.
Since then, several different companies – including major aircraft manufacturers – have showcased their on VTOL or eVTOL models, or announced that they are working on developing one.
- The AugustaWestland Project in Italy
- Volocopter VC1 in Germany
- Opener BlackFly in the United States
- The Airbus A³ Vahana
- Boeing´s Aurora Flight Sciences PAV
- Bell Nexus 6HX