Watch a test flight of Vertical Aerospace’s flying taxi

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Vertical Aerospace has released a video of a successful test flight of its fully electric vertical take-off and landing air taxi.

The full-size demonstrator, which weighs 750kg and flew across Cotswold Airport in Kemble, Gloucestershire, in the UK, in June 2018, was designed, built and flown in a year.

Vertical Aerospace was founded in 2016 and is based in Bristol, UK. It employs 28 engineers and technical experts, recruited from companies such as Airbus, Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Martin Jet Pack and GE.

The company has so far completed a dozen full power test flights so far, all of which have been remotely piloted. Vertical’s engineers then aim to complete the testing and certification program within four years and operate the flying taxi on short range, piloted intercity routes.

It then plans to extend the aircraft’s range and introduce autonomy to it, while expanding the number of chartered routes that it can serve.

Stephen Fitzpatrick, founder and CEO of Vertical Aerospace, said the company was using development processes, materials, electrical systems and aerodynamic designs from F1 in the aircraft: “By putting those technologies in the hands of experienced aerospace engineers, we can build cutting-edge aircraft for the 21st century.”

“Our first eVTOL aircraft was granted flight permission by the CAA and we are already working with EASA to gain type certification for our next model. Regulation evolves along with new technology, but it takes time. We are working alongside regulators throughout that process,” he added.

Vertical Aerospace joins a growing number of flying taxi startups that have aircraft in the air. These include Kitty Hawk, German companies Lilium and Volocopter, Chinese firm Ehang and Airbus’s Vahana.

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Ben has worked all of his career as a journalist and now editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry. In the last 16 years he has written on subjects from nuclear submarines and autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies and commercial aviation. Latterly editor of a leading engineering magazine, he brings an eye for a great story and lots of experience to the team.

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