UK regulator expands Vertical’s design organisation approval

Vertical gets DOA expansion

The scope of Vertical Aerospace’s design organisation approval (DOA) has been expanded by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). 

The scope extension enables Vertical’s engineers to sign off compliance of an increased number of technical areas, including flight control, avionics and electrical systems. This is in turn streamlines the certification process, according to the UK-based electric vertical take off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft developer. 

Stuart Simpson, CEO, Vertical Aerospace, said: “This is another positive step forward in recognising that Vertical has the engineering capability to obtain certification for the VX4 aircraft. Our world-class engineering and design teams, combined with our partnership with leading aerospace companies and our state-of-the-art facilities in the UK, set us up well to achieve certification to the highest safety standards in the world.”

Expanding Vertical’s DOA privileges means the regulator can now rely on the company’s approval for certain activities. This includes those required for a permit to fly for piloted flight tests. That section of the programme is due to begin at its flight test centre at Cotswold Airport once assembly of its latest prototype is completed. 

Vertical became the first eVTOL developer to be granted a DOA by the CAA in March 2023, which authorises the firm to conduct design activities and issue design approvals within the DOA’s scope of approval. A DOA is required to hold a type certificate, which the aircraft needs in order to enter commercial service.

Meanwhile, EASA and the CAA have agreed how they will collaborate on the certification of Vertical’s VX4, under the technical implementation procedures agreed as part of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. Last year, the CAA announced its intention to adopt EASA’s means of compliance to SC-VTOL, the standards against which European and UK manufacturers design eVTOLs.

“At the same time, seeing regulators like the CAA and EASA working closely together paves the way for a more seamless, faster route to certification. I’m extremely proud of our team in getting us to this point as we continue this amazing journey to make electric flight a reality,” said Simpson.

Vertical Aerospace has active certification validation projects with five regulators: US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil (ANAC) and the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB).