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Vertical Aerospace VA-1X

Vertical Aerospace VA-1X

 

VA-1X
Vertical Aerospace Ltd.
Bristol, England, United Kingdom 
www.vertical-aerospace.com

In 2016, Vertical Aerospace Ltd. was founded by Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO of OVO Energy, with the vision of decarbonizing air travel using the best technology from the aviation, energy and automotive industries. 

On Sept. 10, 2018, the Bristol, United Kingdom-based startup announced it had built and flown the UK's first full-scale fully-electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft outdoors. On Oct. 16, 2019, the company announced it had built and flown the world's first "electric air taxi capable of carrying 250 kg (550 lb)". The prototype, named Seraph, completed its maiden flight at Llanbedr Airfield in Wales on Aug. 22, 2019.

On Aug. 10, 2020, Vertical Aerospace unveiled a 13 second YouTube teaser animation of its production aircraft. The eVTOL's capacity will allow one pilot and four passengers, use fly-by-wire technology, have a composite fuselage, and allow customization of the landing gear allowing the purchase of either skids, wheels or flotation landing gear as required by the customer.

On Aug. 26, 2020 the company revealed their new aircraft for Urban Air Mobility, the VA-1X. The aircraft has a very sleek and modern design holding five people (one pilot and four passengers), has a cruise speed of 241 km/h (150 mph), a range of 161 km (100 miles), a separate baggage compartment, space for baggage next to each seat, has twelve propellers, a high wing, a V-tail, has retractable tricycle wheeled landing gear and is 100% electric.

Safety is at the heart Vertical Aerospace and comes before anything else. VA-1X will be flown by experienced pilots and certified through EASA, at exactly the same safety levels that we have all come to rightly expect from commercial airlines. VA-1X will have exceptional safety levels, inherent redundancy and be a really safe, great way to travel.  

—Vertical Aerospace

The interior of VA-1X was designed to create an outstanding passenger experience with side doors allowing entering and exiting the aircraft with ease. There is a separate luggage compartment and room for luggage at your seat. The aircraft sports a skylight and large side windows providing spectacular views for the passengers. USB ports will be available to charge your phones, pads and laptops while screens above will provide flight status information. 

The aircraft is all electric, providing emission-free air transportation and the company's objective is to power their aircraft with renewable energy whenever possible. In addition, the company is also working with suppliers to provide them with a sustainable supply chain. The company has revealed that the VA-1X eVTOL aircraft can achieve noise levels which are 30 times quieter than the equivalent helicopter. Because the aircraft is aerodynamically efficient, it will be able to fly its missions with far less energy than a helicopter would need. 

The VA-1X has been designed to be a high performing aircraft, able to connect entire regions as well as carrying out shorter missions across single cities.  

—Vertical Aerospace

The company purchased the Formula 1 motorsport engineering group MGI Consultancy in October 2019 and is now called Vertical Advanced Engineering.  Vertical Aerospace stated in their Aug. 26, 2020 press release announcing the VA-1X eVTOL aircraft that, "it is developing cutting-edge aircraft by combining the rigour and discipline of aerospace with the pace and agility of F1 (Formula 1 racing, engineering and materials)".

The company plans to spend more than $100 million to have its production eVTOL aircraft certified and relaunched a new fundraising round in August 2020. The company announced on Aug. 26, 2020, that it will begin manufacturing of the VA-1X eVTOL aircraft shortly, with manufacturing taking place in the United Kingdom in Bristol. Commercial flights of the aircraft are anticipated in 2024. 

Specifications:

  • Aircraft type: eVTOL UAM aircraft
  • Capacity: 1 pilot and 4 passengers
  • Cruise speed: 241 km/h (150 mph)
  • Range: 161 km (100 miles)
  • Payload: 450 kg (992 lb) 
  • Propellers: 8 (each rear VTOL propeller is considered one propeller)
  • Electric motors: 8 
  • Windows: Large windows and skylight providing spectacular views for passengers
  • Wing configuration: High gull wing with flaps and ailerons, and the wing ends are both considered winglet and anhedral surfaces
  • Tail configuration: V tail with rudders
  • Tail feature: Under the tail there are VHF antennas which have been positioned to offer some aerodynamic benefit at high angles of attack 
  • Wing span: 15 meters (49 feet, 2 inches)
  • Length: 13 meters (42 feet, 8 inches) 
  • Height: 4 meters (13 feet, 1 inch)
  • Landing gear: Retractable tricycle wheeled landing gear
  • Safety features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), provides safety through redundancy for its passengers and/or cargo. DEP means having multiple propellers and motors on the aircraft so if one or more motors or propellers fail, the other working motors and propellers can safely land the aircraft. Electric batteries, electric motors and small propellers are a much safer aircraft  because there are exponentially less parts, using more reliable parts such as electric motors and batteries which making electric aircraft not only less complex but makes them more reliable then their complicated multiple-parts petroleum fueled engines and complicated multiple-parts transmissions. 

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