(ORDO NEWS) — The British company Vertical Aerospace plans to conduct the first flight tests of the VA-X4 air taxi by the end of this year, which will be simplified to indicate the destination and monitor flight performance. According to Flightglobal, it has already begun manufacturing a prototype aircraft.
Air taxis are small electric or hybrid vertical takeoff and landing aircraft capable of carrying several people. They are believed to help reduce the burden on public transport and reduce traffic congestion.
Vertical Aerospace unveiled a serial electric air taxi project last August. Then it was called VA-1X. It is a high-wing aircraft with a V-shaped tail unit and four beams on the wing. The air taxi received eight electric motors, four at the front and four at the back of the beams. The power of its power plant will be one megawatt.
The VA-X4 has a wingspan of 15 meters and a length of 11 meters. The air taxi is designed for a pilot and four passengers. It will have to fly up to 160 kilometers at a speed of up to 240 kilometers per hour.
Vertical Aerospace intends to conduct the first flight tests of the VA-X4 by the end of 2021 and has already begun production of a prototype. Its carbon fiber fuselage is in production and the composite wing will be ready next month. These components are manufactured by the suppliers of Vertical Aerospace, and the company itself “slowly assembles” all the parts together.
The company is also working to create de-icing protection for its air taxi and is continuing to plan for certification. True, now the deadlines for its completion have shifted to the end of 2024. Overall, Vertical Aerospace is set to produce up to 3,000 VA-X4s a year. So far, it has received thousands of pre-orders for its aircraft, including from American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Avolon.
Vertical Aerospace is also developing the Smart Air Taxi Charger, which we wrote about earlier. It will be integrated into aircraft, including the VA-X4, and will increase their service life.
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