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Vertical Aerospace test-flies electric air taxi

The aircraft was built to test new technologies and systems for integration into Vertical Aerospace’s upcoming passenger model, due to be unveiled next year.

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The Seraph can carry loads of up to 250kg, equivalent to a pilot and two passengers
The Seraph can carry loads of up to 250kg, equivalent to a pilot and two passengers

UK start-up Vertical Aerospace has successfully tested an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) air taxi prototype carrying a 250kg load.

 

The aircraft was built to test new technologies and systems for integration into Vertical Aerospace’s upcoming passenger model, due to be unveiled next year.

 

Maiden flight

 

Named the Seraph, it is capable of carrying loads of up to 250kg – the equivalent of a pilot and two passengers – and can reach speeds of up to 80km per hour. The Seraph completed its maiden flight at Llanbedr Airfield in Wales.

 

According to Vertical Aerospace, the aircraft develops concepts from its first aircraft and builds in capabilities which will be critical for eVTOL aircraft seeking certification from aviation authorities.

 

“One year ago, we flew a full-scale electric VTOL aircraft, the UK’s first,” said Stephen Fitzpatrick, founder and CEO of Vertical Aerospace.

 

“Air travel is one of the worst contributors to climate change and among the slowest sectors to decarbonise. “Our mission at Vertical Aerospace is to make personal, on demand and carbon free flight a reality.”

 

The successful test-flight comes as Vertical Aerospace announces the acquisition of MGI, an F1 engineering consultancy led by British motorsport veteran Mike Gascoyne. Gascoyne and his team of 20 specialists will form Vertical Advanced Engineering, bringing the total Vertical team to more than 70.

“Our mission at Vertical Aerospace is to make personal, on demand and carbon free flight a reality”

Gascoyne’s team brings several decades of experience building high-performance vehicles for Formula 1 and Formula E, having worked with international racing teams including Williams, McLaren, Tyrell, Benetton, Renault and Lotus.

 

The team will apply the latest technologies and agile processes from F1 to the development of eVTOL aircraft. By combining aerospace engineering excellence with new technologies from Formula 1 Vertical Aerospace reckons it will be able to bring a “superior certified” aircraft to market more quickly.

 

“We have long believed that the technologies and approaches from Formula 1 could be applied to a range of engineering challenges. Vertical Aerospace’s vision provides a fantastic outlet for our experience and a unique opportunity to shape the future of flight,” added Mike Gascoyne, CTO of Vertical Advanced Engineering.

 

“Joining the Vertical team will allow us to work on cutting-edge engineering programmes while continuing to provide world-class consultancy services to the wider engineering community.”

 

Vertical Aerospace said it wants to build technology that will ‘revolutionise’ how people fly. Its first aircraft was launched in 2018 with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) flight approval.

 

The company has already begun the certification process for its next model, a passenger aircraft due to be unveiled next year and aims to have a certified aircraft in the next three years.

 

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