Lifting off


Pete Bitar and Electric Jet Aircraft aquire old Pendleton airstrip 

By Brady Extin | For The Times-Post

PENDLETON — Technology is always evolving, including the ways in which we travel from place to place.

From trains, to cars, to planes, the desire for quicker transportation has been and will always be at the forefront of our evolution.

Anderson resident Pete Bitar is working on several cutting edge forms of transportation, including a flying car.

The recent purchase of an old airfield in Pendleton is a big step in helping him reach those goals.

“I just needed more space to do testing and some research and development activities,” Bitar said. “That’s the main application for the space because both the property and the building fit those needs really well.”

Along with the land in Pendleton, Bitar has a hangar at Anderson Municipal Airport, but the size and restrictions on test flying limit him there. The land in Pendleton — a narrow, more than eight-acre parcel running north-south near County Road 600 South and County Road 425 West — allows him more freedom and the space to develop and test his products.

Bitar purchased the property (which he said has been known by many names, including Huntzinger Field, Fuller Field and Hannah Field) in March. It includes a 7,400-square-foot hangar complex.

“The Pendleton airport really allows us to just pursue these ideas fully and develop them into products that can then be manufactured and can start making an impact in the market,” Bitar said.

Bitar is the founder, president, and CEO of Electric Jet Aircraft and is working on three different projects, the ArcSpear Jet Drone, the CanopE-Jet and the LEO Coupe.

While all three are different in size and application, they all use the same technology to get off the ground.

Electric jets power each device and are what make it able to fly.

The ArcSpear Jet Drone uses between four and six small jets, the CanopE-Jet uses two large ones, and the LEO Coupe uses 200 small jets and 20 large ones.

“At the end of the day, Electric Jet is a propulsion company; we build electric propulsion. These products are iterations of that technology,” Bitar said. “It’s a lot of the same technology, just in a lot of different configurations and integrations.”

The ArcSpear Jet Drone is the smallest of the three products, which allows it to be both compact and fast. Weighing only 11.7 pounds, the drone can hold up to 20 pounds, has a maximum travel distance of 54 miles, and can travel at speeds of up to 180 mph. According to Bitar, the size allows it to fly between buildings or through forests without the fear of propellers hitting anything because they aren’t exposed outside the drone.

The drones have already been sold to both Ukraine and the United States military.

“This technology all has immediate application,” Bitar said. “Drones have an immediate application, and there is a big market for them, so that has been the first step.”

The CanopE-Jet is the world’s first all-electric, jet-powered paramotor system capable of holding people up to 250 pounds and reaching speeds of up to 63 mph. The Jet can fly for 25 minutes, and it takes just 25 minutes for the battery to recharge.

The most ambitious of Bitar’s projects is the LEO Coupe.

The LEO Coupe is a vertical takeoff and landing vehicle. It takes off and lands like a helicopter and cruises like an airplane while flying through the air.

The vehicle would hold up to three to four people, fly at speeds up to 200 mph, and travel 250 miles on one charge.

While initial testing and prototypes have begun being developed by Bitar and the rest of the team involved, initial production isn’t slated to begin until 2026.

Bitar began down this path of electric technology and personal flight after selling his first company, Xtreme Alternative Defense Systems (XADS), in 2018.

“I’ve always kind of been an innovator and inventor. Once I sold off the defense company, I decided that I wanted to do something that was more my passion, which was always personal flight,” Bitar said. “Electric technology was coming up at that time, and batteries were getting to where they are now, so I decided to start Electric Jet as a way to go after that passion.”

For now, it’s just Bitar and a couple interns working on the projects at the newly acquired land in Pendleton. His first full-time employee begins on Monday, and he would eventually like to have a team of about half a dozen people working on the projects.

“It’s all very viable technology; it works,” Bitar said. “And as things work you kind of just keep walking through the doors that open for you. That’s kind of just been my path.”

As a new member of the Pendleton community, Bitar said he hopes to host community outreach events at the hangar and airstrip.

Eventually, he would like to plan a cookout with food trucks and have the community out to view the products and see demonstrations.

“When we have more to show, we’d like to do a community outreach day, or mini demonstration day, where we can show the community what we’ve been working on,” Bitar said.

In the meantime, he has gotten involved with the community by playing host and allowing the Civil Air Patrol to practice their marching drills on Friday nights.

“They were looking for a home, so we allow them to come in and do their drills here,” Bitar said. “That’s another way we’re already somewhat involved in the community.”

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