Imagine hopping into a zero-carbon emission, personal aircraft and zipping skyward over the traffic and congestion to land conveniently right at the office.

It’s long been the stuff of science fiction but a team of WSU researchers is testing components that one day might make that dream of a personal, electric flying machine a reality.

“I would say if you’ve ever tried to drive from downtown Seattle to the airport, I think that’s probably enough justification for the project right there,” said John Swensen, associate professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering.

Swensen and Professor Konstantin Matveev have received a grant from Washington’s Joint Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation (JCATI) to work with ZEVA Aero, a Tacoma-based start-up company, on the single-passenger, electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. The WSU team, including four students, is studying aerodynamic configurations to optimize the vehicle’s thrust and controls. JCATI supports research relevant to aerospace companies and provides industry-focused research opportunities for students.