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This article was published on July 20, 2023

Electric air taxi completes first untethered test flight

Vertical Aerospace expects its eVTOL's commercial rollout in 2026


Electric air taxi completes first untethered test flight

Vertical Aerospace’s electric urban air taxi has completed its maiden untethered flight, marking a significant milestone for the Bristol-based startup.

The flight took place on Wednesday at Cotswold Airport in southwest England, where a full-scale prototype of the VX4, the  company’s eVTOL, flew at about 70km/h or 40 knots.

According to the company, the aircraft was remotely piloted and reached the targeted speed powered only by its battery propulsion system. It managed to lift, hover, fly, and land successfully.

You can see footage of the flight in the video below:

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Founded by British entrepreneur Stephen Fitzpatrick, Vertical Aerospace entered the eVTOL world in 2016 with the vision to electrify urban air mobility.

The VX4 is powered by eight electric motors mounted on movable nacelles and its 1MW powertrain is co-developed with Rolls- Royce. The eVTOL also boasts a 161km range with a top speed of 322km/h. The startup claims it can fly from London’s Heathrow Airport to Canary Wharf in 13 seconds.

As an air taxi, the aircraft can carry five people in total, including the pilot. In addition, it can be used as a medivac or cargo plane.

The VX4 is pending certification by the UK Aviation Authority in 2026, when Vertical Aerospace expects to start delivering its first eVTOLs. Nevertheless, the startup has received 1,400 pre-orders from airlines, operators, and rental companies. These include a number of big global industry players such as American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Air Asia, Japan Airlines, and Gol.

Following this week’s successful takeoff, the company’s planning further flight tests over the coming months, as well as developing a second prototype aircraft with “even more advanced technology,” the startup said in a statement.

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