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US Air Force airmen start routine Lift HEXA flights in early operational trials

Luke Reddaway, a Lift team member, pulls the HEXA, an electric, vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, to its take-off position prior to a flight Nov. 16 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Airmen in training piloted the aircraft via remote control for the first time Nov. 16. The aircraft used 18 motors and propellors to fly for approximately 10 minutes and reached a height of about 50 feet. The military team performed many take-offs, flights and landings. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

The United States Air Force Eglin Air Force Base has reported in a press release that the Lift HEXA, an electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft was recently piloted by USAF airmen in routine flights.

The press release says “The airmen remotely controlled the aircraft during multiple take offs, flights and landings.  This was an early step in creating a training program to incorporate airmen into the aircraft’s flight operations.

The first goal  “was to validate the HEXA’s training program by having the Airmen execute it in a controlled, test environment.  The second was to serve as a proof of concept for how to develop responsive training for government operators on uncrewed EVTOL aircraft.  With more uncrewed cargo EVTOLs on the way, the overall goal is to field the systems as soon as they are ready.”

“Successfully completing this training is a huge milestone and confidence boost to allow us to meet this challenge,” said Maj. Riley Livermore, 413th FLTS Futures Flight commander.

The press release also added that “the team began with classroom and simulator training before getting behind the controls of the HEXA aircraft during the two-week familiarisation and that the flights required a two-person team.  One person controlling the movement of the aircraft, while the other monitored the aircraft systems, batteries, outside variables, etc.

“The goal of this Air Force and civilian partnership is to leverage the industry’s commercial investment and innovation to effectively satisfy military use cases.”

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(Image: Eglin Air Force Base)

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