First take-off for UK's Vertical Aerospace VX4

Vertical Aerospace VX4 flight test
Chief Test Pilot Justin Paines in the Vertical Aerospace VX4 for its first flight test

British company Vertical Aerospace has made the first take-off with its VX4 electric Vertical Take-off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

Bristol-based Vertical Aerospace engineers and technicians watched as Chief Test Pilot, Justin Paines, took the controls for the aircraft’s maiden take-off. The VX4 has eight sets of aerodynamic propellers to lift the aircraft from the ground at hover-thrust, this time while tethered to the ground for safety.

Justin Paines said, “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.”

The company decided to conduct its first flight tests with a pilot on board, rather than controlled remotely, to prove it could meet the most stringent safety standards. To do this, Vertical Aerospace received regulatory approval in the form of a ‘Permit to Fly’ from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), after demonstrating the test could be conducted safely.

Vertical VX4

Prototype of the VX4 with eight electric rotors

Vertical intends to certify the VX4 by 2025. The plan for the VX4 is to carry a pilot and four passengers, with a range up to 100 miles, cruise speed of 150mph and a top speed of 200mph.

The company has already received more than 1,400 conditional pre-orders from some of the world’s leading operators, including Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines, Japan Airlines and Air Asia.

Stephen Fitzpatrick, founder & CEO of Vertical, said, “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.”

Claims that this is the first new British aircraft to take-off for 20 years are challenged by avgeeks who point to Ivan Shaw’s Seeker, Mike Whittaker’s MW9 and the eGo.

The VX4 will now go through an intensive flight test programme, lasting several months, completing different stages which will involve reaching higher altitudes and speeds and demonstrating the transition from vertical to horizontal forward flight.

Vertical Aerospace



1 comment

  • DBo says:

    Claims that this is the first new British aircraft to take-off for 20 years are challenged

    Not to mention all the new hot-air balloon types certified as Part-21 aircraft. Cameron Balloons have done several this year alone.

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