Vertical Inches Away From Launching Its Beefed-Up VX4 Prototype

Vertical is weeks away from completing the assembly of its second prototype 8 photos
Photo: Vertical Aerospace
UK-based eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) maker Vertical Aerospace is getting ready for one of its top milestones in the coming weeks. The official launch of its second prototype will confirm that it's on track to kick off advanced flight tests later this year.
"2024 is a defining year for the eVTOL industry," says Stephen Fitzpatrick, founder and CEO of Vertical Aerospace. Numerous developers in this emerging industry are completing the final steps before officially launching commercial air taxi services. For Vertical, these steps are linked to the flight tests that will be carried out by the second prototype of its flagship aircraft, the VX4.

What makes this second version particularly important is that it will integrate more than 60% of the actual technology components that will equip the final commercial product, in addition to several upgrades.

The new VX4 claims to be faster and also quieter than the first prototype. It will also boast upgraded propellers and Vertical's proprietary battery technology. The final assembly of this beefed-up aircraft is due to be completed in just a few weeks.

In terms of certification, Vertical claims to be one of the pioneers. On the one hand, it's the only company in the industry to actively work toward obtaining certification from no less than five regulators; on the other hand, it was previously awarded the first-ever DOA (Design Organization Approval) from CAA (UK's Civil Aviation Authority) for a listed eVTOL manufacturer.

All eVTOL manufacturers claim to have the best aircraft design and the top technology, but very few have also developed in-house battery technology. Vertical made headlines when it inaugurated a brand-new battery technology facility in the UK. Located in Bristol, the multi-million-pound Vertical Energy Center (VEC) unfolds over 15,000 square feet (1,393 square meters). This is where Vertical will produce the 220Wh/kg battery system for its commercial air taxi.

Last year, the first VX4 prototype completed a historic demonstration flight at the Cotswold Airport in Kemble, UK. The eVTOL successfully went through all of the flight phases and achieved the targeted top speed of 40 knots (46 mph/70 kph). It was the first full-scale demonstration of the company's proprietary battery technology in action.

Last but not least, the UK-based AAM (Advanced Air Mobility) company is also doing great in the market. A couple of years ago, it claimed to be at the top of the list in terms of pre-orders. By 2022, it has already sold 500 units of the VX4 through a leasing company. Just a year later, that number blew up to more than 1,500. It also boasts one of the most diversified customer bases in the industry, all the way from the US to Japan.

Folks in the UK will get the chance to watch the VX4 in action later this year during the public flight demonstrations at Farnborough and Heathrow.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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