British aviation start-up unveils electric "flying taxi" design

Aviation Updates Philippines – Bristol-based aviation start-up Vertical Aerospace has unveiled its design for the VA-1X, the world's first certified winged electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

Vertical Aerospace VA-1X
The electric-powered, zero-emissions aircraft will be powered by eight propulsors and will be capable of reaching cruising speeds of up to 150 mph with a useable range of 100 miles. The four rear propulsors are fixed and will assist with takeoff and landing while the front four propulsors are designed to tilt forward from a vertical position for level flight.

Vertical Aerospace VA-1X Interior

The VA-1X can accommodate up to five people - including the pilot - plus luggage. It is intended to be a greener, more affordable alternative to the helicopter.

Vertical Aerospace claims that the VA-1X's distributed propulsion system, powered by lithium-ion batteries, will make it 30 times quieter than a helicopter. The VA-1X's aerodynamic design and 49-foot wingspan will also allow the aircraft to land on a regular helipad without any issues.

With the VA-1X, passengers can expect to travel from London to Brighton - a flying distance of 76 km (47 mi) - in just 30 minutes, compared to two hours by car and an hour by train.

Vertical Aerospace VA-1X exterior

According to Vertical Aerospace, the entry-level price for a commercial VA-1X flight is "expected to be between a helicopter flight and a private car" which will decrease even further "as adoption grows." 

Manufacturing will take place in the UK, with prototype production and flight trials set to begin by 2021. Commercial production will then commence by 2023 or 2024 for certification in 2024.

Vertical Aerospace VA-1X cockpit

"With the launch of the VA-1X, we're proud to be taking eVTOL one step closer to mass-market adoption, and supporting the next era of aviation," Vertical Aerospace CEO Michael Cervenka said in a statement.

"At Vertical Aerospace we believe that people should be able to quickly and affordable get from A to B without sacrificing the planet - with the VA-1X, this vision will start to be realized in under five years," he added.

Vertical Aerospace VA-1X exterior 2

Headquartered in Bristol, Vertical Aerospace is one of only seven companies in the world to have already successfully flown several full-scale eVTOL prototypes.

Vertical Aerospace will also be the first to introduce Formula One technology to eVTOL aircraft, following its acquisition of MGI Technologies, a Formula One engineering and R&D firm, in October of 2019. This means that Vertical Aerospace will now have the ability to quickly design and build lightweight composite fuselages and conduct aerodynamic testing, crash and fatigue analysis, and more in-house.

Photos by Vertical Aerospace