Vertical Aerospace has completed final assembly of the first full-scale prototype of the VX4 eVTOL. The vehicle will now start its multi-month flight test program, CEO Stephen Fitzpatrick said on August 8 in its HY1 2022 results release. Vertical prepares first VX4 prototype for maiden flight.
The prototype has already started the first ground tests, which according to financial documents include “lift, vibration and propeller thrust. Once we receive our piloted permit to fly from the CAA (which we expect them to provide upon being satisfied with our design and process documentation, test data, and the air-worthiness of the aircraft), we intend to conduct the tethered hover demonstration which is expected in summer 2022 and will thereafter continue the various stages in our flight test program for the VX4 aircraft, including full wing-borne flight capability.”
As a new category, the Advanced Air Mobility vehicles will get extra attention from the regulators before they get certified. Vertical says it is “on target” for certification of its four-seater in 2025. It has secured concurrent validation between Europe’s EASA and the UK’s CAA on the same SC-VTOL basis, which should guarantee rapid deployment of the VX4 once it is certified.
“Together with our existing pre-orders, we have what is believed to be the market-leading pre-order book by value for more than 1.400 VX4 electric aircraft, estimated to be valued at $5.6 billion. Customers include American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Avolon, Bristow, Marubeni, and Iberojet, as well as (through Avolon’s VX4 placements) Japan Airlines (JAL), Gol, Gözen Holdings, and AirAsia,” the Bristol-based company says. On July 15, American Airlines announced that it had made a pre-delivery payment to secure production slots for the first fifty of potentially 250 VX4s.
HY1 operating loss of £-39 million
Vertical reported a £-39 million HY1 operating loss compared to £-22 million in the same period of last year. The net loss was £17 million versus £22.6 million last year. Net cash flows in operating activities were £-58.4 million compared to £-10.3 million.
Cash and cash equivalents stood at £157.6 million by the end of the year, which should be adequate for its operating expenses and capital expenditures until mid-2023. Capital outflow will be around £40-50 million in HY2.
“Until we generate sufficient operating cash flow to cover our operating expenses, working capital needs, and planned capital expenditures, or if circumstances evolve differently than anticipated, we expect to utilize a combination of available pre–delivery payments, plus equity and debt financing, to fund any future capital needs. If we raise funds by issuing equity securities, there may be dilution to our shareholders.”
Vertical plans to raise $100 million in new equity
Indeed, to raise additional equity, Vertical announced today that it has established a subscription line with Nomura Securities International “to sell to Nomura up to $100 million in the aggregate gross purchase price of our newly issued ordinary shares, par value $0.0001 per share. (…) Sales of ordinary shares pursuant to the Purchase Agreement, and the timing of any sales, are solely at our option, and we are under no obligation to sell any securities to Nomura under the Purchase Agreement,” Vertical says in an SEC filing.
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.