Advanced Air Mobility News

Vertical’s Five-Seat eVTOL Prototype Starts Test Flying

Vertical’s Five-Seat eVTOL Prototype Starts Test Flying

British eVTOL start-up Vertical Aerospace recently announced that its five-seat VX4 prototype aircraft has achieved its first tethered hover test flight.

The test flight took place in a hangar at Kemble Airport in western England, with the eVTOL hovering about 1 meter above the ground for 10 minutes.

Vertical had to apply to the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority for special permission to fly as the test flight was crewed.

According to the company is is the first British company to test fly a new aircraft in more than 20 years.

Vertical says that it has obtained more than 1400 conditional bookings, with American Airlines having made advance payments for the first 50 deliveries.

Japan Airlines (JAL) also leased or purchased up to 100 VA-X4 five-seat eVTOLs from aircraft leasing company Avolon last year, which includes an order for 50 aircraft and options for a further 50.

In the next few months, the VX4 prototype will gradually improve its test altitude and flight, followed by a critical conversion test flight from vertical flight attitude to cruise flight. The company expects that the VX4 will receive the UK airworthiness certificate in 2025.

The VX4 adopts a five-seat design including the pilot. There are eight large propellers – two five-blade propellers along the leading edge of each large wing, and two four-blade propellers along the back of each wing. The aircraft is an all-electric, tilting propeller configuration with a design range of 160 km, a cruise speed of 240 km/h and a top speed of 320 km/h.