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Vertical Aviation conducts flight tests of new five-seater VX4 eVTOL aircraft


British air taxi manufacturer Vertical Aerospace has announced that a prototype of its five-seater VX4 eVTOL aircraft has taken off for the first time. The UK Civil Aviation Authority (UK CAA) has granted the company “Permission to Fly” to test the VX4.

Eight electrically powered aircraft, led by Vertical Aviation chief test pilot Justin Plains, took off from the ground. During the aircraft’s first takeoff, eight sets of aerodynamic propellers lifted the aircraft off the ground with a suspended thrust, while it was attached to the ground for safety.

According to the company, it was the first British company in over 20 years to begin flight tests of a new aircraft with a full-scale piloted prototype. The first flight marks the beginning of an intense eVTOL flight test program. The program is expected to continue for several months, completing various phases that will mark the attainment of high altitudes and speeds and the transition from vertical to horizontal forward flight.

Permission and positive results from these initial tests allow the company to confidently advance its VX4 certification mission by 2025. The VX4 aircraft is expected to carry four passengers in addition to the pilot, flying at a cruising speed of about 240 km/h and a top speed of 322 km/h. It is expected to cover distances of more than 160 km with minimal noise and zero operational emissions.

The eVTOL features a separate luggage compartment, a luggage compartment next to each seat, twelve propellers, a high-mounted wing, a V-shaped tail and retractable tricycle landing gear. According to the company, the VX4 eVTOL can achieve a noise level 30 times lower than an equivalent helicopter.

Vertical Aerospace announced that it has already received more than 1,400 pre-orders from the world’s leading airlines, operators and travel groups, including Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines, Japan Airlines and Air Asia. Industrial partners of the project are Microsoft, GKN Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, Solvay, Leonardo and Honeywell.

Source: Port Altele

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