The eVTOL With a Record Number of Pre-Orders to Boast a Top-Level Composite Fuselage

Italian aerospace giant Leonardo is the latest addition to the impressive list of collaborators for the development of the VX4. Its expertise in composite aerostructures will be used to take this eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) to the next level, gearing up to break cover this year.
The VX4's composite fuselage will be produced in Italy, by Leonardo 7 photos
UK-based Vertical Aerospace claims to have the top pre-order book in the industry, by value, adding up to 1,350 air taxis worth $5.4 billion. In addition to prestigious customers, such as American Airlines, the startup is also proud to have top-level partners, including Rolls-Royce and Honeywell. Leonardo, the newest one on the list, will be working together with the international company on the design, manufacturing, and testing of the VX4.

Its Grottaglie facility in Southern Italy is considered one of the most advanced when it comes to composite aerostructures and will now focus on the VX4 development. The immediate goal is to develop and test the fuselage for six certification aircraft. But the wider plan is to ramp up fuselage production to a whopping 2,000 units per year.

Another one of Vertical’s partners, Solvay, will be providing the composite materials, while Leonardo and Vertical will jointly work on the aircraft structure, the modular design, systems installation, and structural testing.

With a fuselage developed by Leonardo, and a high-performance powertrain, developed together with Rolls-Royce, this electric aircraft has the potential to become one of the best ones on the market. It also boasts avionics that claims to be similar to those on the F-35B (the fighter jet version that can take-off and land vertically). With a maximum speed of 200 mph (321 kph), the VX4 could take passengers from Heathrow to London in just 12 minutes. Plus, the four-seat aircraft promises to be cost-effective, no more expensive than a conventional taxi.

With production for the first six certification aircraft ready to kick off in Italy, the VX4 is expected to begin test flights by the end of this year.

 Download: Leonardo and Vertical Aerospace Launch Collaboration (PDF)


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