When Lowell’s First Look first caught up with Alex Taylor in 2019, he was a high school senior with big plans to revolutionize transportation. His company, Wind Craft Aviation, was working to design a prototype aircraft that could take off and land like a helicopter but fly like an airplane.
Today, Wind Craft Aviation is known as Orb Aerospace, and the young entrepreneur has secured government contracts that will assist with the development and manufacture of the aircraft – known as orbs.
“We’re in the middle of bringing a couple million into the organization,” explains Taylor, who serves as both founder and janitor for Orb Aerospace. The company would like to add 50-60 staff members next year and could have as many as 20,000-30,000 workers by 2035. According to Taylor, “We have the opportunity to do something that puts us on the map globally.”
New Way of Taking Flight
Originally, Taylor envisioned orbs as being a type of personal aircraft that could replace cars. However, it has since become apparent that won’t be feasible anytime soon. “[FAA regulations] are going to make it really hard to sell to a private customer,” he says.
The company has shifted its focus to other potential uses, such as humanitarian aid. Orb Aerospace has also received government contracts that point to possible military uses. “The Air Force was looking for a solution that would meet its needs,” Taylor explains.
As a result of those contracts, Taylor is limited in what he can say about his current prototype, other than to confirm one exists. He hopes to be able to unveil more details when the time is right, but for now, he can share that Orb Aerospace isn’t using traditional technology.
“We decided we were going to take a more unconventional approach and develop our own energy system,” Taylor says. It’s one that will move away from fossil fuels and rely on a new source of battery power.
Putting Lowell on the Map
Taylor has been working on this new aircraft since he was in high school, but he isn’t phased by the thought that it could still be years before his idea comes fully to fruition. “Tesla took about 10 years to go from an idea to a working, production vehicle,” he notes.
He expects Orb Aerospace to be manufacturing aircraft in earnest by 2035. Plans are for production to be largely automated, but Taylor anticipates a need for a significant number of workers in Lowell with engineering backgrounds for research and development positions.
If all goes according to plan, Orb Aerospace may be a major player in aviation in the decades to come, but Taylor has no plans to move its base of operations, saying: “We love the town of Lowell.”