Karem Butterfly

Quick Summary

Karem Aircraft is one of five companies selected by Uber to be partners for the UberAIR initiative, and gained a large amount of public attention and traction from this announcement. The Karem team has substantial experience in other aerospace projects, including their VTOL transport concepts. However, the company has not indicated their progress towards completing a prototype of their eVTOL for Uber.

Karem Aircraft, based in Lake Forest, CA, USA

Stage of Development

Preliminary Design

Prototype Build

Flight Testing


Commercially Operating
Technical Details

No technical details have been released on Karem's concept at this time. Check back for updates. Karem's website states:

Karem Aircraft develops and manufactures advanced fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft, including manned and unmanned high-efficiency tiltrotors. Karem’s patented Optimum Speed Tiltrotor (OSTR) technology combines the fast, inexpensive, safe operation of efficient fixed-wing airplanes with the robust hover capability of helicopters. Our team of world-class engineers, technicians, and professionals work to create innovative vehicles and improved mobility, including best-in-class rotorcraft and aircraft solutions for commercial and military markets. The company is headquartered in Orange County, California, with offices in York, Virginia and Victorville, California.

Karem Aircraft was founded by Abe Karem in 2004. Karem Aircraft is a participant in the US Army’s Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstration (JMR TD) program. Other recent Karem contributions include work on DARPA’s VTOL X-Plane (VXP) program and DoD’s Joint Heavy Lift (JHL) and Joint Future Theater Lift (JFTL) programs. Several privately funded initiatives are also underway at Karem, including development of the AeroTrain® and AeroCommuter® Optimum Speed Tiltrotors intended for commercial passenger transportation.

Prior to founding Karem Aircraft, Abe Karem founded Leading Systems and Frontier Systems. Leading Systems developed the Amber and GNAT 750 (predecessors of the General Atomics MQ-1 Predator). At Frontier Systems, Abe led the development of Optimum Speed Rotor (OSR) technology and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems, as well as the A160 Hummingbird Optimum-Speed Rotor UAV, now owned by Boeing.

Our Take on Karem

Karem Aircraft won a huge contract by announcing a partnership with Uber - now the difficult work for the company has started. Since Karem is a smaller firm than the large aerospace corporations that have dominated the industry for decades, they'll most likely be able to accommodate some of the requests that Uber has that other companies wouldn't. However, their largest hurdle is completing their preliminary design process and moving forward with production of a prototype and testing of the Butterfly.