Overair provides a first look at a second wave of eVTOL aircraft

The Southern California startup backed by South Korea’s Hanwha Systems has taken the wraps off its first full-scale prototype.

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Release Date
December 19, 2023
Overair provides a first look at a second wave of eVTOL aircraft
When The Air Current surveyed the competitive landscape of the electric vertical take-off and landing industry in July, two companies stood out as leaders in the second wave of eVTOL developers. One of them was Supernal, the urban air mobility division of Hyundai Motor Group. The other was Overair, a spinoff of defense contractor Karem Aircraft that is also pursuing UAM.

With the reveal this week of Overair’s first full-scale experimental prototype, and the debut of Supernal’s updated vehicle design slated for CES 2024 on Jan. 9, it’s safe to say the second wave of eVTOLs has arrived, even though neither company is targeting entry into service until 2028.

Related: Special Report: Surveying the eVTOL Competitive Landscape

Overair’s roughly 8,000-pound uncrewed prototype is the first of at least two and potentially three test aircraft that it will use to prove out the aeromechanical properties of its concept, called the OA-1 Butterfly, before proceeding to a certifiable design.

“This class of vehicle has a lot of things that are genuinely difficult to calculate,” explained Overair CEO Ben Tigner. “We have models of all of the physics of all of the different elements of the aircraft, but the degree to which we can trust our models is somewhat unknown. … There’s some things that you can’t really put a precise number on it until you have flight data from it.”

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