China-based eVTOL aircraft developer AutoFlight is to launch a flight test campaign for its Prosperity I eVTOL aircraft in the USA after opening its first office at Napa County Airport in California this month.
Prosperity I is a four-seat eVTOL with a range of 250km (155 miles) that is being developed in China and Germany. The aircraft made its first flight in October last year.
The company plans to certify Prosperity I for manned flight in Europe by 2025 and released a video of the eVTOL aircraft transitioning from vertical to horizontal flight in February.
Prosperity I uses eight rotors to lift the 3,307 lbs (1,500kg) into the air. Once it reaches an altitude of 490ft and an airspeed of 100-110mph the fixed wing part of the eVTOL generates lift.
In addition to opening the office at Napa County Airport, Autoflight has hired Omer Bar-Yohay, co-founder and former CEO of electric aircraft developer Eviation Aircraft as its president. Chad Cashin, formerly business development lead at Joby Aviation Chief has joined Autoflight as commercial officer.
The company said the US-based team’s first task will be to achieve a successful transition flight of Prosperity I over US soil in the coming months.
In June AutoFlight released another video of Prosperity I featuring a new design with an upgraded lift and cruise configuration, optimized lifting propellers, and enhanced hover and cruise performance.
The company reports that it has completed over a hundred full transition flights of its aircraft in 2022 and is “well on route” to continue expanding the flight envelope and maturing its European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification program.
Omer Bar-Yohay, president of AutoFlight said, “The AutoFlight name is synonymous with simplicity, safety, and getting things done. I’m delighted to be joining this fantastic team.
“Chad and I have been welcomed with open arms and we’re excited to support our new colleagues on their inspiring journey to unlock the skies for mass individual transport by creating safe, efficient, eVTOL aircraft that make economic sense too.”
Autoflight was founded in 2017 by its CEO Tian Yu. The company is also developing a range of unmanned cargo-carrying drones. The company, which initially attempted to develop a five passenger eVTOL aircraft called the V600, relaunched its testing and certification operations in Germany with an eVTOL aircraft called Prosperity I in January this year.