ABOVE: ‘Electric flight is within reach,’ says the British start-up 

Vertical Aerospace’s full-scale VX4 eVTOL (electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing) aircraft has successfully flown at Gloucestershire’s Cotswold Airport, reaching 40kts in ‘remotely piloted thrustborne test flights’.

The Bristol-based manufacturer achieved its first tethered takeoff of the VX4 in September 2022, using ground power for a ten-minute flight that hovered just feet above the ground. However, on 19 July it was revealed that the aircraft has successfully lifted, flown and landed powered solely by Vertical’s electric battery packs.

Although the milestone flight was remotely piloted, Vertical’s Chief Test Pilot Justin Paines commented that the VX4 was “rock-solid in stability and provided precise control even in demanding flight conditions such as hovering close to the ground”. He added that “battery temperatures and state-of-charge remained well within predictions for the duration of flights”.

Vertical Aerospace received the first CAA-issued eVTOL Design Organisation Approval (DOA) in March 2023 (UK.21J.1001, ‘Small Aeroplane with eVTOL limitation’), which allows Vertical to develop, produce and certify its designs.

Further flight testing will now continue as Vertical works towards its UK CAA certification, which the company hopes to achieve by the end of 2026. The aircraft is expected to achieve a top speed of around 200mph with a range of 100+ miles, and Vertical boast a ‘market-leading pre-order book by value for more than 1400 aircraft from global customers including AirAsia, American Airlines, Avolon, Japan Airlines, Marubeni and Virgin Atlantic,’ according to the company’s website.