Make Flying Simple: Skyryse’s FlightOS Gives Pilots Control With Just a Tablet

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

Make Flying Simple: Skyryse’s FlightOS Gives Pilots Control With Just a Tablet

"You ready Mr. iPad pilot," a Skyryse promotional video asks before a man who has never driven a helicopter takes off using a tablet.

The Hawthorne-based startups's technology, dubbed FlightOS, strips out many of the technical controls that helicopter pilots rely on and instead presents them in a simple tablet formula.


Co-founder and CEO Mark Groden hopes that it can make it easier for more people to fly helicopters while remaking the boundaries of urban mobility.

Skyryse recently inked a deal with Robinson Helicopters, one of the world's largest fixed-wing and rotorcraft manufacturers, to integrate Skyryse's system into its flagship model, the R66.

And on Wednesday, it announced a $200 million Series B funding round led by Fidelity Management & Research Company and Monashee Investment Management.

Skyryse will use the funding to propel the development of the company's flight automation system, FlightOS.

Groden, who became passionate about the utility of flight as a kid and went on to get a PhD in Engineering from the University of Michigan, started Skyryse during the last year of his thesis in 2016. Three years later, they moved the company to L.A. where they hope they can eventually add their technology into airplanes.

While the startup has simplified flying, it is still out of reach for many.

"You still need a pilot's license to fly an aircraft using FlightOS," Groden said.

On average, it takes 50 hours of driving experience to get your license. In contrast the FAA only requires 40 hours to become a private pilot.

Much of those classes are required due to the inherent dangers of flying.

A 2019 study by NASA found 20% of commercial aviation faced some issues in the cockpit that required pilots or flight crew intervention.

Najm Meshkati, a USC professor of engineering who specializes in aviation safety, said the bold moves are exciting but it's unlikely that non-trained pilots will be able to fly helicopters any time soon.

"There are a lot of safety-related implications," he said. "We really need to move a little bit more cautiously. I don't say slowly, but cautiously."

Groden said their goal for transportation is "to make general aviation the safest mode of transportation on the planet and democratize the skies for everyone." The system has the capability to safely land any aircraft if engine were to fail. They company is seeking FAA certification for its technology.

To that end, Skyryse recently hired Michael Huerta, the former head of the Federal Aviation Administration, and Chris Hart, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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Liquid Death May Just Be The 'Fastest Growing Non-Alcoholic Beverage Of All Time'

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

Liquid Death May Just Be The 'Fastest Growing Non-Alcoholic Beverage Of All Time'
Liquid Death Files Paperwork to Raise $15 Million

When Santa Monica-based Liquid Death launched with funding from neighboring venture capital firm Science Inc. in 2018, the Los Angeles startup world – and everyone else – had nothing but jokes. But with the company’s latest $700 million valuation, it appears the joke is on the rest of us.

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