As I recently wrote about Aerial Work for Mosaic LSA, perhaps it’s fitting to write about Part 103 vehicles doing commercial work.
But isn’t flying for hire prohibited in Part 103? Yes, it is.
However, “public use” aircraft do not have to meet FAA aircraft certification regulations nor operating limitations. “Public use” can include activities like police, fire, rescue, border patrol, and similar typically government functions whether provided by federal, state, or local agencies. In short, government departments at all levels get special privileges.
This means little to pilots unless you are one flying for a government agency. For the producers, however, this can mean potentially lucrative sales. In the case of Part 103 multicopter producers it may represent a means of market entry.
In this article I reference an aircraft covered before called Hexa (earlier article, with more aircraft detail), designed and built by Lift Aircraft in Austin, Texas.
“Every first responder is now a pilot,” stated Lift Aircraft in their online promotional material. “Imagine a future where any first responder can pilot their own simple, safe, inexpensive air vehicle that can take off and land virtually anywhere. With no pilot’s license required and 1/10th of the operating cost of traditional helicopters, our ultralight eVTOL aircraft, Hexa, makes this future a reality.”
After six years of development, testing, and now entering production, Lift announced, “Hexa is now available for sale to public agencies.” The company said that five production Hexa aircraft are allocated to new public agency partners who opt in soon after the announcement.
“With use cases spanning police, fire, medical, search and rescue, emergency, and disaster response,” Lift stated, “your agency can be among the very first to leverage electric, vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft to serve your agency’s mission.
Hexa (multicopter) qualifying under Part 103
Quick facts provided by the company
- Approved — Public agencies operate under Public Aircraft (PAO) rules.
- Simple to fly, no pilot’s license is required. Beginner training in < 1 hour.
- Reduce response times by up to 80% compared to ground vehicles.
- Low noise, low profile — land virtually anywhere.
- Operate without ultralight limitations (same as certified aircraft).
- Completed pre-operational flight and safety test program.
- Completed five R&D and test contracts through Phase 3 with USAF.
- Extensive BETA pilot test and training program since May, 2023.
- Modular cargo configuration can fly payloads up to 350 pounds.
- FULL SPECIFICATIONS — See nearby chart
Buyers will be invited to Lift’s training facility near Austin, Texas for a demonstration where pilots will be trained to fly Hexa. Agency staff will meet with Lift’s team to discuss the agency’s use for the aircraft.
Get Ready for 30th
Aero Asia took place for the first time from November 23 to 26, 2023 and reportedly “exceeded all expectations.” Aero Asia was held at Zhuhai International Airshow Center in the beautiful coastal city of Zhuhai, Guangdong, China.
“More than 268 exhibitors from 17 countries showcased the latest innovations in general aviation,” said Aero leaders. Organizers featured a focus on sustainable aviation and eVTOLs.
Aero Asia show producers are the same team who puts on a favorite European show, Aero Friedrichshafen. The Asia edition was planned earlier but China’s lockdown policies during Covid doomed the effort. Obviously, demand exists, however, and Aero organizers were no doubt relieved and satisfied to finally achieve their goals. The group also puts on an Aero brand event in South Africa.
Under the motto “Get Your Own Wings,” Aero Asia attracted around 68,000 visitors over four days. The four-day trade fair took place in the halls as well as on a large outdoor static display (nearby image). “Alongside high-quality conference formats, numerous air shows delighted the trade fair visitors,” added Aero Asia organizers
“Exhibitors recorded good business at the first edition of the trade fair taking 239 aircraft orders with a total order volume of $1 billion,” reported Aero.
The event was organized by Zhuhai Airshow Group Co., Ltd, also known as the organizer of Airshow China. Aero Asia 2023 was conducted in partnership with Messe Friedrichshafen GmbH, aided by various government agencies and 22 supporting associations, authority departments, and colleges.
Aero Asia plans a successive trade fair for November 2025, skipping a year as is common for such events outside the United States.