Vertical’s VX4 prototype completes first hover flight
Vertical Aerospace’ VX4 eVTOL aircraft took off from the ground for the very first time over the weekend. The flight means Vertical becomes the first British company to start flight tests with a new aircraft in over 20 years.
The firm’s flight test programme is expected to continue for several months, involving the completion different stages like reaching higher altitudes and speeds and demonstrating the transition from vertical to horizontal forward flight.
Chief test pilot, Justin Paines, took to the controls for the aircraft’s maiden take-off which saw the prototype tethered to the ground for safety.
“This test represented the culmination of many months preparation by a huge team and being at the controls of the VX4 for the first time was an honour and a proud moment for us all,” said Paines.
Vertical decided to conduct its first flight tests with a pilot onboard to prove it could meet the most stringent safety standards. To do this, the firm received regulatory approval in the form of a “Permit to Fly” from the UK’s CAA.
On a mission to certify the VX4 by 2025, Vertical intend the aircraft to carry a pilot and four passengers over a range of up to 100 miles. The VX4 will also be able to cruise at speeds of around 150mph, with a top speed of 200mph.
The company has already received more than 1,400 conditional pre-orders from companies including Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines, Japan Airlines and Air Asia. Vertical also recently announced that American Airlines has conditionally committed to make a pre-payment for its first 50 deliveries of the VX4.
Stephen Fitzpatrick, founder & CEO, Vertical, concluded: “This moment represents a small step for Vertical Aerospace, but it’s a giant leap forward for British aviation. For more than 100 years the UK has been a global leader in aviation and today, in the 21st century, Britain is leading the world in the development of zero carbon aircraft.”