AutoFlight Flies in Formation
AutoFlight conducted a test flight involving three prototypes of its Prosperity I eVTOL aircraft, the China-based company formally announced on July 27 (though it was briefed at the VFS Electric Aircraft Symposium, see “Electric Aircraft Symposium Highlights AAM Progress,” Vertiflite, Sept/Oct 2023). The flight occurred a month earlier, on June 17, at a test facility near Shanghai. At various points during the test, the three aircraft flew in a formation, the purpose of which was to “test the environment for any potential aerodynamic interference of close-proximity takeoff and landing of more than one aircraft,” according to AutoFlight.
The company claimed in headlines that were picked up by the media that it was the “world’s first formation flight of three full-scale eVTOL aircraft,” discounting the manually flown, competitive three-ship Alauda Airspeeder tests last year (see “Alauda Marks eVTOL Racing Milestones,” Vertiflite, Jan/Feb 2023) but in the body of its press release the company was more precise to say it was “a world first formation flight of three autonomous eVTOL aircraft.” AutoFlight is aiming to certify the cargo version of the Prosperity, the Carryall, with China’s aviation authorities in 2024.