The piloted test flight was the first time that the VX4 had flown. Vertical Aerospace

  • The flying taxi that’s been ordered by American Airlines has completed its first test flight. 
  • The piloted test of the VX4 is the first in a series of planned tests, Vertical Aerospace said Monday. 
  • American Airlines has preordered 250 of the aircraft, which could be certified by 2025. 

A British startup has successfully completed the first piloted test flight of its VX4 flying taxi.

The company, Vertical Aerospace, announced the news on Monday. It marks a significant step in the development of electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft technology. 

Vertical Aerospace has designed the VX4, which has been ordered by American Airlines and Virgin Airlines, to carry four passengers on 30-minute flights between airports and across cities.

The test flight, which occurred inside an aircraft hanger, aimed to determine whether the vehicle could lift itself under its own weight, a spokesperson for Vertical Aerospace told Insider. 

During the 10-minute test, the craft, which was tethered to the ground, hovered at a height of around 3 feet, the spokesperson said. 

“This test represented the culmination of many months of preparation by a huge team,” said Justin Paines, the company’s chief test pilot, who also flew the aircraft.

The full-scale VX4 prototype was piloted by Chief Test Pilot, Justin Paines.

The full-scale VX4 prototype was piloted by Chief Test Pilot, Justin Paines. Vertical Aerospace

Vertical Aerospace, which is listed on the New York stock exchange, is one of several startups rushing to develop eVTOLs.

The vehicles, often marketed as flying taxis, are attracting significant interest from major airlines, charter firms, and tourism companies.

No model has been certified by flight regulators, although Vertical Aerospace hopes to have the VX4 certified by 2025.

In July, American Airlines announced it had paid for the pre-delivery of 50 VX4 craft and has a further 200 on order, with an option for 100 more.

The test flight announced on Monday was the first time the VX4 had flown, although Vertical Aerospace previously carried out tests flights on prototype craft. 

Because the test flight was piloted, Vertical Aerospace had to apply for a permit from the UK’s aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The spokesperson said that members of the CAA were present during the first test flight. 

Vertical Aerospace plans to continue testing the VX4 for several months and increase the altitude and speed with each new test flight.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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