The full-scale VX4 eVTOL proved its performance at the Cotswold Airport in Kemble, UK, by successfully going through all the flight phases and reaching its target speed of 40 knots (46 mph/70 kph). It was a confirmation of the aircraft's efficient propulsion system and the battery packs that Vertical also developed.
Hovering at low altitudes is particularly challenging, but the VX4 eVTOL demonstrated remarkable stability, precision, and control even then. The manufacturer's proprietary batteries also performed efficiently, confirming Vertical's high expectations.
This initial flight was conducted with no pilot onboard. Still, Vertical is already planning the next stage, focusing on crewed flights. At the same time, it's building a second full-scale prototype that will integrate and test additional technology.
Vertical is known to have some of the best industry partners in the aviation AAM (Advanced Air Mobility) sector – the VX4's propulsion system, for instance, was developed together with Rolls Royce.
This milestone comes less than a year since the UK-based AAM company completed a tethered flight test. In Fall 2022, the VX4 reached a milestone by flying with a pilot onboard, even though it stayed connected to the ground through a tether. Probably next year, Vertical will be ready to use its full-scale prototype for the first free flight with a pilot in the cockpit. It has enough time since it recently postponed the official launch date for its commercial air taxi to 2026.
The VX4 eVTOL was designed to carry up to five people over 100-mile (161 km) routes at a maximum speed of 200 mph (325 kph). It features a 1 MW powertrain and a proprietary battery system.
Vertical kicked off a test flight campaign for the VX4 eVTOL at the beginning of last year. Even before that, it had secured an incredible amount of pre-orders all over the world.
In early 2022, it claimed to be the eVTOL manufacturer with the largest pre-order book in the world. This was mainly due to Avolon, an aircraft leasing expert, purchasing 500 air taxi units from Vertical, which it later placed with other global customers. In fact, it even went beyond that 500-unit mark, with an additional 50 units also sold in record time.