Zeva Aero, the Tacoma, Wash.-based personal aviation startup that’s been testing flying saucers, is shifting its focus to a more down-to-earth design for aircraft that’ll be capable of vertical takeoffs and landings.
The startup is also getting ready to move its base of operations to Pierce County Airport-Thun Field in Puyallup, Wash. “This will give us room to expand, and the views of Mount Rainier are spectacular,” Zeva said in its announcement of the move.
Zeva founder and CEO Stephen Tibbitts told GeekWire that the roughly 18,000-square-foot leased facility will provide office and shop space, with adjacent land set aside for a future hangar. Zeva plans to move into the new headquarters by the end of May to ramp up work on its new top-priority project.
Tibbitts said the plan for pivoting away from Zeva’s original flying-saucer design took shape over the past year or so.
Zeva was founded in 2017 to go after the GoFly Prize, a Boeing-backed $2 million competition aimed at promoting the development of one-person flying vehicles that could make vertical takeoffs and landings. The GoFly rules required the vehicle design to fit inside an 8.5-foot-wide sphere — and at the time, Tibbitts thought a flying saucer would be the best fit.