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Fri, Sep 23, 2022

Kittyhawk's Wings Clipped As Wisk & Boeing Press On

Kittyhawk’s Wings Clipped: Wisk And Boeing Press On With Project

Larry Page, the Google (Alphabet) billionaire has clipped the wings of his 10-year experiment known as Kittyhawk.

This effort was part of his long elusive dream of developing flying cars. By now, there are several variants out there still trying to make their way in the world, and so it comes as no surprise that this bird's wings have finally been clipped.

However, this project will live on in some form through a joint venture between Wisk Aero and the Boeing company. 

It was hoped that Kittyhawk would be a pioneering breakthrough in the market for electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, with a lofty goal of “democratizing the skies”.

It was mostly a secretive project that was under the purview of Sebastian Thrun, a Google veteran who had worked on self-driving cars and the now defunct Google Glass as well as other related projects. Around 2019, the Boeing company invested $450 million in their partnership with Wisk Aero, so Boeing is continuing to put its shareholders’ money where its mouth is by making a significant financial commitment in urban air mobility.

A sliver of hope was offered in the shape of Wisk's rotor-powered Cora aircraft at the Farnborough International Air Show earlier this July in the United Kingdom. 

Furthermore, Boeing has been on record as providing engineering support for a larger four seat aircraft which Wisk Aero may eventually certify in the United States. In the authors opinion, it appears they see the potential for air taxi business in the face of current competitors as "ripe for profitability”, if only they can overcome the challenges of meeting safety and cost factors.

It’s not an easy market to enter, but with Boeing’s big money, perhaps they will crack that shell. Time will tell if their slogan “if anyone can do this” holds up! 


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