Volocopter’s 2X begins test flying in Japan


A rendering of the VoloCity flying above Tokyo, Japan. (credit: Volocopter)

Volocopter is fresh off its first multi-day flight test campaign with a crewed eVTOL aircraft above the Japanese cities of Osaka and Amagasaki. 

The testing is being carried ahead of the 2025 World Exposition being held in Osaka. With the 500-day countdown now on, Volocopter has committed to flying at the event with its commercial air taxi, VoloCity.

The flights were conducted to test aircraft under similar conditions to those expected during the exposition, and to increase public awareness of eVTOLs in Japan. As well as a visit from the Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura and Osaka City Mayor Hideyuki Yokoyama, over 200 local primary and secondary school students joined the event. 

“Seeing the children’s faces light up when the Volocopter took to the air was the absolute highlight of the day,” said Christian Bauer MD of Volocopter. “As a novel technology, public awareness of eVTOLs and the creation of the UAM ecosystem are where we need to focus for Japan. Volocopter and partners are preparing early for the 2025 Expo to have the advanced know-how to operate our eVTOLs seamlessly when the time comes”. 

The flight tests were conducted at the Osaka Heliport which is close to the planned 2025 EXPO pavilion location in Osaka Bay. Working with local authorities such as the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau, local air traffic controllers, emergency response teams and infrastructure owners now will help to smooth the transition from testing to commercial operations, said Volocopter.

Governor Yoshimura said: “I am very happy that I witnessed Volocopter’s test flight up close alongside hundreds of excited students and so close to the site of the 2025 EXPO. The 2X did not disappoint, with a stable and incredibly quiet flight. I have great expectations for eVTOLs, and with the help of Hyogo and other neighbouring prefectures, we will push forward to make the EXPO a success to support the future of the industry beyond 2025.”

Earlier in the week, the crewed Volocopter 2X also performed an “aircraft behavioural flight” with the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, Japan’s national research and development centre. For this multi-day flight test campaign, Volocopter was awarded subsidies from Osaka Prefecture, Osaka City, Hyogo Prefecture and NEDO, with further support from its sponsors such as Sekisui Chemical Company and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company.

Since late 2022, Volocopter has been awarded multiple grants in Japan to conduct classroom studies on eVTOLs for school children in Osaka as well as route and communication feasibility studies in Tokyo.