Press

American Press: media@kittyhawk.aero

World Press:
world@kittyhawk.aero

Our Leadership

Sebastian Thrun

CEO of Kitty Hawk

Sebastian Thrun is a scientist, educator, inventor, and entrepreneur. Sebastian is the CEO of Kitty Hawk, whose mission is to make the dream of everyday flight open to everyone. He is also the founder, chairman, and president of Udacity, whose mission is to democratize education.

Sebastian was the founder of X (previously Google X), where he led the development of the self-driving car, Google Glass, and other projects. He spent several years as a professor at Stanford University where he led the Stanford Racing Team, whose “Stanley” won the DARPA Grand Challenge. Stanley is now on display at the Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

Fred Reid

President, Cora and CEO of Zephyr Airworks

Fred Reid is the CEO of Zephyr Airworks, Kitty Hawk’s operator in New Zealand. Fred Reid has spent his 30 year career in the aviation and airline industry helping make the world a little smaller and a whole lot more connected. He is an experienced leader, executive, and board director who has launched, grown and strengthened some of the finest brands in the sky.

Fred was the founding CEO of Virgin America, which went on to become the most decorated airline in North America. Before that, he was president of Delta Air Lines and president of Lufthansa Airlines, where he was co-architect of the Star Alliance.

Cora FAQ

  • What is Cora?

    Cora is an air taxi designed and built by Kitty Hawk. It combines electric power, self-piloting software and vertical take-off to pioneer an entirely new way to fly. Cora is the beginning of a journey towards everyday flight, where air travel will be woven into our daily lives.

  • Who is Kitty Hawk?

    Kitty Hawk is a company dedicated to bringing the power of electric, everyday flight to our lives. Cora is one of several exciting aircraft we’ll be sharing with the world.

  • Who is Zephyr Airworks?

    Zephyr Airworks is the operator of Kitty Hawk in New Zealand.

  • What happened to Zee.Aero?

    Zee.Aero was the name of our Cora team while we were in development stage. Now that the Cora prototype is in the market, we wanted a name that reflected the spirit of Kitty Hawk’s mission of bringing everyday flight to everyone.

  • Why have you made this aircraft?

    Cora isn’t just about flying. It’s about people and mobility. It’s about the time you could save soaring over traffic. The friends you could visit. The opportunities you could seize. Cora is about giving everyone a fast and easy way to get around that doesn’t come at the expense of the planet.

  • What is so special about Cora?

    Access: Cora rises like a helicopter and flies like a plane, eliminating the need for a runway and creating the possibility of taking off from places like rooftops.

    Ease: Cora will use self-flying software combined with human oversight to make flying possible for people without training.

    Sustainability: Cora is powered by the same kind of technology that helps electric cars contribute to a more sustainable world.

  • When will the public be able to ride in Cora?

    We are not putting timeframes around when Cora will be available for public flight. We have a lot of work to do and we are working constructively with regulatory authorities. We are looking forward to being able to share our product with the New Zealand public when the time is right.

  • How much would it cost to buy one of these?

    This aircraft will not be available for consumer sale. Cora will be a part of a service similar to an airline or a rideshare.

  • What attracted Kitty Hawk to New Zealand?

    New Zealand is recognised for its safety-focused regulatory environment and a strong history of excellence in airspace management. These qualities are vital in giving people confidence that we are serious about making Cora the best air taxi in the market.

  • How long have you been in New Zealand?

    Kitty Hawk established Zephyr Airworks in December 2016 to be able to test and work with the New Zealand Government, New Zealand Maori/iwi, business partners and the community. We shipped our first air taxi to New Zealand in October 2017 and began testing shortly after that.

  • Is Cora safe?

    Cora has a number of safety features such as:

    Independent Rotors: Because our fans & propellers are electric, they can operate independently. An issue with one has no effect on the others.

    Triple Redundant Flight-Computer: Cora is equipped with three independent flight-computers that each calculate its location. If there’s an issue with one of them, Cora can still reliably navigate.

    A parachute that launches if Cora needs to land without its fans.

  • Since Cora was announced in New Zealand in March 2018, what milestones have you reached?

    Our time in New Zealand has empowered many important milestones:

    We have achieved seven hundred flight tests globally –– a major step forward in ensuring Cora is one of the most reliable and advanced aircraft ever to take to the sky.

    Zephyr Airworks, the operator of Cora in New Zealand, is entering into an agreement with Air New Zealand –– a partnership to bring the first ever air taxi service to the sky.

    We have built lasting bonds with the community. The young leaders of Ngāi Tahu Iwi (Māori tribe in New Zealand’s South Island) recently visited our headquarters in sunny California. And we have benefited from hiring incredible local talent as the New Zealand cohort on the Cora team grows.

    Recently, we also celebrated the opening of our hangar in New Zealand. It was an exciting moment. The hangar will serve as our first base of operations as we grow our fleet of Coras and build toward the world’s first electric, autonomous air taxi service.

  • What is the purpose of the agreement between Air New Zealand and Zephyr Airworks?

    The agreement is a commitment to jointly explore the development and design of an electric, autonomous air taxi service, using Cora.

    Together, we are working toward a future where the speed and power of flight is woven into our everyday lives, and transportation is driven by clean, sustainable electric power.

  • What will Air New Zealand and Zephyr Airworks actually deliver?

    This is the start of our relationship, and we will have more to share as the collaboration progresses.

    We have a lot of work to do and are working constructively with regulatory authorities. We are looking forward to being able to share our service with the New Zealand public when the time is right.

Cora Fact Sheet

Company Name: Kitty Hawk Corporation is a California-based company.
Zephyr Airworks is the operator of Kitty Hawk in New Zealand.

Headquarters: Mountain View, California

Kitty Hawk CEO: Sebastian Thrun

Zephyr Airworks CEO: Fred Reid

Product NameCora (prototype)

Type of Machine: Air taxi

Power: All-electric

Capacity: Designed for two passengers.

Altitude: Operates between 500 ft to 3000 ft above the ground.

Wingspan: 36 feet/about 11 meters

Vertical take-off and landing: Cora is powered by 12 independent lift fans, which enable her to take off and land vertically like a helicopter. Therefore, Cora has no need for a runway.

Fixed wing flight: On a single propeller.

Range: Initially about 62 miles / about 100 kilometres.

Speed: About 110 miles per hour / about 180 kilometres per hour.

Regulation: Cora has an experimental airworthiness certificate from both the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). We are working with the CAA on further certification goals to bring an air taxi service to the commercial market.

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