Vertical Aerospace has recently conducted the first untethered flight of its VX4 eVTOL, flying on its own battery power. The flight was done at Cotswold Airport, where the start-up is based for all initial flight tests. Vertical Aerospace VX4 makes untethered flight.
The untethered flight is hailed by Vertical as a major milestone in the program. Vertical didn’t share details of the (remotely controlled) flight duration and exact date but said that it followed after a number of flights in the past weeks of the first prototype aircraft.
An edited video of the event shows the VX4 on the runway, then take off vertically to what seems at 50 feet/15 meters of altitude, before hovering and flying horizontally over an unspecified distance. The vehicle flew at 40 knots. The electromotors remained in their horizontal position and didn’t transition to the vertical one required for horizontal flight.
This is in line with how Vertical earlier described low-speed flight tests for multiple-axis maneuvers to expand the flight envelope. Once this phase has been completed, transition tests will start which will see the VX4 go from hover to horizontal flight at between 5.000 and 10.000 feet at 145 knots.
More flights will follow in the coming months when the first aircraft will be joined by a second prototype with more advanced technology. Vertical plans to certify the VX4 in 2025. Tethered flights began in September 2022.
Vertical Aerospace was absent from last month’s Paris Airshow but claims to have orders and pre-orders for some 1.400 VX4s, including those from Avolon, American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and Bristow.
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.
In 2022, he has gone full-time freelance. Richard has been contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He is also writing for Airliner World and Aviation News and until July 1 2023 in a part-time role with Dutch website and magazine Luchtvaartnieuws. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.