Richard Tuthill, owner of road, rally and race car manufacturer Tuthill Porsche, has joined the Skyfly team in a partnership that aims to strengthen Skyfly’s affinity with high-end automotive production methods and light-weight engineering practices.
Skyfly believes Richard will bring a wealth of production and engineering experience to Skyfly as well as a broad network of clients and suppliers. With over 40 years’ experience building and restoring bespoke Porsches for customers around the world, Tuthill Porsche has a track record of transforming cars from bare shells to fully spec’d race or rally 911s in as little as seven days.
“My background in motorsport is all about reliability and consistency,” said Richard Tuthill. “I have an amazing network of clients, suppliers and friends on all continents and hope to enable the Skyfly team to reach all of them. My passion for low cost personal air transport has been a constant passion and something I have been waiting to find an opportunity to be involved in. My manufacturing and engineering background will add real value to an already extraordinary team.”
“Richard is the perfect addition to complement Skyfly’s aeronautical engineering team,” said Jaap Rademaker, CCO Skyfly. “He enjoys challenges and is an outstanding engineer who sees solutions rather than problems. He has perfected delivering a complex product over decades and brings a world of experience and networks to Skyfly. Above all, he has the same drive we have to make things happen and deliver the unique, must-have luxury item of this decade. Richard shares our vision for an affordable, quiet and usable private electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) which will transform people’s lives, drastically reducing journey times and create more time to live.”
Skyfly is currently developing the Axe, a personal two-seat eVTOL aircraft due to enter production in 2024.
According to Skyfly, the Axe is the only two-seat private eVTOL that can be flown with an existing pilot’s license. The unique aircraft has four wings allowing it to fly both as a helicopter and a fixed wing aircraft, offering the flexibility and versatility of a helicopter, with the safety and redundancy of a plane.
“When I met up with Richard for the first time and showed him the design and introduced him to the team, it was obvious that this collaboration was going to work,” said Michael Thompson, CEO Skyfly. “Richard had an instant understanding and appreciation of our aircrafts approach and design. His attitude fits in perfectly to form the ultimate team to build and deliver this aircraft. The Axe shares an affinity with high performance cars, from the composite structures through to the engineering practices. Our partnership with Richard Tuthill and the Tuthill Porsche brand strengthens this affiliation.”
The Axe by Skyfly has a range of up to 200 miles thanks to a hybrid generator and a cruise speed of 100mph. Due to its small footprint and low noise, the Axe can be kept at home and flown directly to its destination, all without having to encounter traffic jams, road works, railway stations or airports.
Its unique four-winged design (patent pending), developed by aeronautical engineer William Brooks, enables vertical take off and landing, but also enables flight like a conventional airplane.
“Simplicity is the key to most things in life and the Axe was born from this philosophy,” said Richard Tuthill. “I’m not aware of anything like it currently in development. The engineers have seen a number of things which others have not. It gives Skyfly the unique opportunity to bring it to market cost effectively and in a short time frame that I don’t believe others can offer. I can’t wait to own one.”
Skyfly has said it is not venturing down the commercial certification route which leads to a much more expensive end product with owners having to cover costly and lengthy maintenance schedules that are not suitable for a private pilot. The company is taking advantage of existing light aircraft kit built ‘permit to fly’ or ‘experimental’ aircraft certification which greatly reduces the costs for the owner. Whilst taking advantage of these benefits, the aircraft will still be built to commercial standards to ensure the aircraft is not compromising safety or build quality.
Skyfly’s team of aircraft engineers has developed the Axe as a versatile personal aircraft that differs from other eVTOL aircraft in that it uses proven and tested suppliers to provide various key components including the propulsion system, battery system and flight control system.
In the first months since its official launch, the Axe has secured dozens of orders and has attracted the attention of financial investors. This backing will allow Skyfly to push forward with its development schedule. It is now building its first series production aircraft with test flights due to begin mid-2023 with customer deliveries expected to begin at the end of 2024.