ABOVE: Funding will be used to develop the aircraft’s ‘next-generation propellers’

Vertical Aerospace, designer and developer of the VX4 eVTOL (vertical take-off and landing craft), has received £8 million in grant funding by the UK Government via the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI). It is the fourth round of funding awarded to the Bristol-based company (following earlier investment from the ATI and the government’s Future Flight Challenge), bringing total UK government support to £37 million.

Investment in the UK advanced air mobility (AAM) pioneer comes shortly after Vertical’s founder and CEO, Stephen Fitzpatrick, committed to invest $50 million of his own equity into the company. “This project will be another major step towards delivering the next generation of novel electric aviation technologies in Britain,” he explained.

This specific project will bring together ‘the UK’s foremost experts and technical partners to further develop Vertical’s eVTOL propellor technology and propulsion system,’ notes Vertical, will the final technology expected to be ‘lower in weight, inertia and noise than their existing propellers, and be delivered to a higher safety standard than any model currently on the market’.

Vertical’s only flying prototype was written off last year when the remotely piloted aircraft crashed at Kemble airfield. A subsequent investigation identified the root cause to be a bonding issue fault with the propellor blade, although Vertical notes this has already been redesigned prior to the accident. Meanwhile, a second airworthy prototype is ‘rapidly progressing’ at GKN Aero’s Global Technology Centre in Bristol.

Mark Scully, Head of Technology – Propulsion and Advanced Systems, ATI, commented: “The project will see advancements in rotor technologies vital to the success of eVTOL aircraft developed here in the UK growing knowledge, skills and capability in the process”.