Perot Conference Eyes Future of Air Travel Around North Texas

Air taxis may soon be seen moving people through the air around North Texas

A forum organized by Ross Perot Jr. eyed the future of air travel and how people can one day go to work or home in air taxis as easily as calling an Uber.

A mockup of a future flying machine called Nexus was on display. It's being developed by Hurst-based Bell.

"It basically flies like a helicopter and an airplane all in one aircraft," said Bell's Vice President of Innovation Scott Drennan.

And incredibly, it may one day fly without a pilot.

Perot, a pilot himself with an interest in future air travel, organized the conference at his Westlake ranch.

"You have 150 of the top thinkers in the world and top manufacturers in the world building these new aircraft and really leading this revolution that's occurring in the world," Perot said.

Perot's Hillwood property company is partnering with Bell, for one, to offer landing and recharging pads.

Air taxis could ferry passengers from Frisco to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in the next few years, Perot said.

Perot Jr. is the son of Ross Perot, the one-time presidential candidate who made billions in computer services and helped found Alliance Airport. He died in July.

Another aircraft on display was the Hexa, being developed by the Austin company Lift.

The Hexa, a one-seater, actually flies. It has six arms and 18 rotors, propellers and batteries which all work independently.

Lift founder Matt Chasen sees it not as an air taxi -- but for entertainment.

"It's magical," Chasen said.

He expects to fly actual customers in the next few years and has a waiting list of more than 10,000 people, he said.

"We're well on our way to proving our first phase of flight testing and letting our first customers from our wait list actually fly," he said.

And then there was a prototype called the "Avenger," a kind of "sky bike."

It's similar to a motorcycle that flies. Developers envision it as a scooter in the sky that can carry people short distances.

Perot, 61, said the changes in air transportation will transform society.

"It's going to be an amazing future we're all going to have," he said.

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