Vertical receives ‘first ever’ UK CAA design approval for an eVTOL


Vertical Aerospace has secured the first ever Design Organisation Approval (DOA) issued to an eVTOL OEM by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

UK and European aerospace companies cannot attain or hold a Type Certificate (TC) without being first granted a DOA. In this case, the DOA authorises Vertical to conduct design activities and issue design approvals within the DOA’s scope of approval. 

This approval means the CAA is satisfied that Vertical has the capability to design a safe and reliable aircraft and aviation-related products to the highest standards and is expected to streamline certification.

Stephen Fitzpatrick, Vertical’s founder and CEO, said: “I am immensely proud that Vertical is the first British electric aircraft company in history to receive a DOA from the UK aviation regulator. This approval is a critical step forward in our mission to decarbonise air travel and bring the UK’s first electric aircraft to market. We are grateful for the CAA’s commitment to advancing sustainable aviation, which allows us to build on the UK’s proud aerospace tradition.”

Earlier this month, the CAA announced its intention to adopt EASA’s Means of Compliance to SC-VTOL, the standards against which European and now UK manufacturers will design eVTOLs.

Garry Lathey, Design and Certification manager, UK CAA, said: “The granting of Design Organisation Approval to Vertical is an essential step on their journey bringing an eVTOL aircraft into service. It emphasises our commitment to making the UK a key destination for aviation innovators. It’s also vital that this work has an international impact and so in all our efforts we aim to work collaboratively with other regulatory bodies around the world to support the future of eVTOL flight and maintain the high safety standards that the public expects.”

According to Paul Harper, Vertical’s head of Certification, receiving a DOA from the CAA is a “huge testament” to the company’s team. “It represents a significant milestone on our journey to Type Certification and we would like to thank the CAA for their guidance and continued support. I believe that in formally working with JCAB, as the fourth aviation regulator Vertical is committed to certifying with, we are on track for establishing the most detailed understanding of global regulators’ needs and differences for eVTOLs. This will give us a competitive edge in bringing the VX4 into service.”

Vertical has also begun its certification efforts in Japan, following the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau’s (JCAB) recent acceptance of the VX4’s validation programme. Successful validation of the VX4’s TC will allow the aircraft to be operated in this key market. Vertical has already partnered with Japan Airlines (JAL), through the placement of up to 100 VX4 pre-orders with Avolon, as well as with Marubeni Corporation for up to 200 VX4 pre-orders.