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April 12, 2024
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Vertical Aerospace says it completed the first hover flight of its VX4 eVTOL vehicle over the past weekend. This is the first step of the full flight test program that should lead toward certification in 2025. Vertical Aerospace VX-4 makes its first ‘flight’.

The VX4 did the first test at Vertical facilities in Bristol with the eight electric motors set at hover thrust. The vehicle was connected to the ground with a tether for safety reasons but was piloted by Vertical’s chief test pilot, Justin Paines. For this, the CAA granted a permit to fly.

No details have been shared about the duration of the hover test. From the press release, it is believed that the vehicle flew at only five feet high. This will become fifty feet during the next phase of the program when the VX4 will be doing an untethered low-speed, horizontal flight. Once this has fully satisfied the engineers, the eVTOL will enter the next flight test phase in which it will demonstrate the transition of the motors to forward flight mode and fly piloted at between 5.000 and 10.000 feet. Vertical said in August that it was preparing the first flight of the VX-4.

While it is ahead of Embraer’s Eve program as it comes to the first hover flight, Vertical is a long way behind some of its rivals. It did the first test with the VA-X2 prototype in 2019, but competitors like Joby Aviation started back in 2017 and have been flying its production prototype since 2019. Joby posted a tweet last week, saying that it has flown 145 miles in one day on August 30. Lilium shared a video of last Tuesday’s flight at 80 miles/hour or 150 km per hour.

Wisk has been flight testing since 2011. Its sixth version that it intends to certify will be unveiled sometime in the coming weeks or months. Last week, Wisk and Boeing presented their concept of operations or ConOps, which lays out the regulatory, technology, and social recommendations on how to operate Urban Air Mobility transports in the US. In contrast to other companies, Wisk intends to operate its Cora as an autonomously flying vehicle that is supported from the ground.

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Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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