Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Pivotal

What is an eVTOL?

The term eVTOL stands for electric Vertical TakeOff and Landing and represents a new and growing class of aircraft that requires no runway and operates in two distinct flight modes — hover and cruise. eVTOLs range in size from single passenger aircraft like the Pivotal Helix to multi-passenger air taxis. And because eVTOLs are electric, they are more sustainable and quieter than traditional aircraft.

What are common use cases for the Helix?

Pivotal is introducing the Helix as a personal recreational aircraft aimed at making the experience of flight available to a wider audience. Over time, we expect Pivotal's light eVTOL technology platform will evolve to serve a broader range of personal, public service, and defense applications.

What makes the Helix unique?

The Helix has a number of features that make it unique among the light eVTOLs. At first sight, the most prominent is the fact that it’s a tilt aircraft that rotates on its base to take off in hover mode, tilts to horizontal for cruise mode, then tilts again into hover mode for landing. The simplicity of the tilt aircraft design leads to major advantages in safety, manufacturing, and cost. This is just the beginning of what makes the Helix special. Read more about the Helix design, technology, and benefits here.

Is the Helix an air taxi or a flying car?

As a single-seat light eVTOL, the Helix is not designed to serve as a commercial air taxi. And while you may hear eVTOLs occasionally referred to as flying cars, they’re not flying cars in a literal sense. Plenty of movies and cartoons have dreamed up the flying car of the future, but eVTOLs are not designed to fly and drive.

Why produce a light eVTOL?

Pivotal has chosen to enter the eVTOL market with a light, single-seat aircraft so we can go to market quickly, receive feedback from our customers, and get immediate learning in our engineering, operations, manufacturing, training, and service teams. We’re taking advantage of limited regulations in the FAA Part 103 (Ultralight) category to avoid the burden, time, and uncertainty of the highly-regulated market for larger aircraft.

Will Pivotal make a 2-seat or 4-seat version of the Helix?

Larger aircraft designs are part of our product roadmap, although it is too early for us to share these plans.

Qualifications

Do I need an FAA-issued pilot certificate (license) to fly a Helix?

The Helix is classified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as a Part 103 Ultralight aircraft, which means that Helix pilots are not required to have FAA pilot certification.

Even though the Helix doesn’t require FAA pilot certification, Pivotal requires every customer to meet several criteria to become a qualified Helix pilot and to know where they can fly their aircraft. Some of our requirements are specific to the Helix aircraft design, and others are related to the FAA Ultralight regulations.

What are the Helix eligibility requirements?

You can determine your flight eligibility based on five key requirements — age, weight, height, flight location, and altitude — using this list of eligibility criteria.

To ensure safe operation of the Helix, Pivotal also requires each pilot to successfully complete our comprehensive flight training at our headquarters in Palo Alto, California. The course takes approximately two weeks to complete; the duration may vary based on past experience and rate of learning.

Why have eligibility requirements to purchase the Helix?

Pivotal has five eligibility requirements: age, weight, height, flight location, and altitude. Two of these requirements come from the FAA, which requires all ultralight pilots to be at least 18 years of age and to fly ultralight aircraft in uncongested areas. The weight, height, and altitude requirements are based on the dimensions of the aircraft and the amount of propulsion available to maintain safety.

If you have any technical or eligibility questions, please contact us.

Is it better to start out already knowing how to fly?

Before purchasing their Pivotal aircraft, our current early access customers were a mix of FAA-certified pilots and non-pilots. What they have in common is an inherent love of flight and a sense of adventure. They all want to soar above incredible landscapes, do short-hop travel, and reach hard-to-access areas.

The most important starting point for each is great motivation and passion for flight, rather than specific piloting experience. After all, we designed the Helix with the non-pilot in mind, making safety, aircraft design, and usability our top priorities.

To qualify as a Helix pilot, what kind of training do I need?

The comprehensive Helix training covers four main knowledge and skill areas: ground school, aircraft handling, simulator training, and flight training. For a fee, Helix owners can even give friends and family access to training, so they can become qualified Helix pilots too. Here is more information about training.

Aircraft Features

What are the key features of the Helix?

Beyond the inherent tilt aircraft feature, the Helix offers many integrated features and accessories that contribute to safety, ease of operation, and enjoyment. These include a built-in flight panel, mobile app, ballistic parachute, canopy, backup camera, air traffic system, premium flight deck, beacon lights, and chargers.

The feature combinations and options depend on which of three Helix packages you choose. To learn more, go to the Helix page.

Do the Pivotal BlackFly and Helix aircraft comply with 14 CFR Part 103 Ultralight Vehicles regulation?

Yes. Both the Pivotal BlackFly and Helix aircraft comply with the 14 CFR Part 103 regulation, as noted below. See the Technical Standards Committee's Vehicle Review and Documentation of Findings of Ultralight Vehicle.

  1. Is used or intended to be used for manned operation in the air by a single occupant
    • Single seat
  2. Is used or intended to be used for recreation or sport purposes only
    • Recreation or sport purposes only
  3. Does not have any U.S. or foreign airworthiness certificate
    • No U.S. or foreign airworthiness certificate
  4. If unpowered, weighs less than 155 pounds
    • Not Applicable
  5. If powered
    1. Weighs less than 254 pounds empty weight, excluding floats and safety devices, which are intended for deployment in a potentially catastrophic situation
      • Empty weight is 245 lbs + 24 lbs for parachute system + 30 lbs for floating fuselage + 10 lbs for each of the four outrigger floats [Reference AC103-7]
    2. Has a fuel capacity not exceeding 5 U.S. gallons
      • Not Applicable
    3. Is not capable of more than 55 knots calibrated airspeed at full power in level flight
      • Maximum full-power level flight speed is 55 knots (62 mph) limited by software
    4. Has a power-off stall speed which does not exceed 24 knots calibrated airspeed
      • Not Applicable
Do the BlackFly and Helix have to comply with minimum fuel requirements for flight in VFR conditions?

As ultralight aircraft, BlackFly and Helix are not required to comply with Part 91.151 minimum fuel requirements. That said, Pivotal trains pilots to always operate with a 20% reserve battery capacity.

How do I transport the Helix?

A 16' road trailer can hold everything needed to take the Helix to uncongested areas for flights. Helix packages 2 and 3 come outfitted with a trailer, dual wing cart, and a vehicle cart.

How do I move the Helix once it is on the ground?

The vehicle cart that comes with all three Helix packages allows an adult to easily move the aircraft over flat or paved surfaces.

Is the Helix an amphibious aircraft?

The Helix can take off and land safely on water. Helix pilots are trained to use this amphibious capability for emergencies.

Do the Helix wings rotate?

No, the wings are fixed to the fuselage to minimize cost, weight, and complexity. Instead, the entire aircraft tilts to enter hover mode — one of Helix’s most distinctive design features.

What colors does the Helix come in?

Each of the three Helix packages comes with a different exterior color scheme. Package 3 offers the choice of accent color (teal, copper, or silver) and also allows you to get really creative and customize the design of the entire aircraft exterior. Imagine what people are saying when they see you fly overhead. See the Order form for photos.

Availability and Order Process

Is the Helix available to order now?

The Helix is available for purchase today on our website here.

What is the price of the Helix?

The Helix comes in three different packages starting at $190,000 for package 1, $240,000 for package 2, and $260,000 for package 3. To learn more about all the features and how they're bundled into the three packages, go to the Order Configuration page.

What is the Helix order and payment process?

The order process begins by configuring your aircraft, then selecting accessories and services. You complete the order by making a $9,000 initial deposit, which is refundable.

To set the delivery date and schedule your pilot training, you’ll need to sign the Vehicle Deposit Agreement and make a $50,000 second deposit. The initial and second deposits are refundable up to 45 days before aircraft delivery or 30 days before training starts.

The non-refundable final payment and Vehicle Purchase Agreement are due at least five days before the aircraft ship date.

The order and payment process is summarized here.

You recently offered the Early Access Program for BlackFly. Is it still available?

The Early Access Program is now closed to new entrants, though it’s actively ongoing with the participants who joined us to fly the BlackFly, which precedes the Helix. Engaging this select group of innovators is giving us indispensable feedback on every aspect of the customer experience.

Where can I see the Helix in person?

We announce upcoming air shows and events featuring the BlackFly and the Helix through our social media, periodic newsletter, and at the top of the Pivotal homepage. The easiest way to stay up to date is to join our email list.

Can I test fly a Helix?

Because Helix requires successful completion of Pivotal flight training to be eligible to fly, we don’t offer test flights. That said, you can check out the Helix in our flight simulator during our annual trek to EAA AirVenture 2024 in Oshkosh, WI and other select events where we bring our sim chairs.

Staying In Touch

I have a question and would like to talk to someone at Pivotal. What is the best way to reach you?

You can contact us in one of the following three ways:

  1. Call us at 650-662-6981 between 9am and 5pm PT Monday to Friday. Feel free to leave a message after hours, and we’ll call you the next business day.
  2. Schedule a call with a member of our Sales team.
  3. If you prefer email, please submit the Contact Us form.
Do you have a newsletter?

To stay up to date on the latest news about the Helix and upcoming appearances, please sign up for our email list.

I'd like to follow Pivotal on social media. Where can I find you?

Come join us on any of these social platforms:
LinkedIn
Instagram
YouTube
Facebook
Twitter / X

Is all the footage on your YouTube channel of real aircraft?

All BlackFly videos on YouTube are the real deal. There is no CGI, and all footage is of full-scale vehicles. Because the Helix is in the final stages of development, Helix videos are currently CGI. This will change as soon as the Helix is airborne. You’ll find our YouTube videos here.

EYES ON THE SKY

Black and white treeline.