Vertical eVTOL Takes First ‘Hop’


Vertical Aerospace broke the usual mold for first flights of eVTOLs by putting a pilot on board for the first hop of its VX4. The first flight was, indeed, a hop. Chief Test Pilot Justin Paines was in the left seat for the “flight,” which involved the tethered aircraft rising for a few seconds before settling back down. The company did not provide video or photos of the event, which, according to NewAtlas, required signoff from the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority. It was also believed to be the first time a U.K.-developed aircraft has had a first flight in 20 years.

Still, the hop was a step toward a full-scale flight test program that the company hopes will result in full certification by 2025. The company claims 1,400 pre-orders for the five-seat aircraft. The VX4 is projected to have a 100-mile range with a top speed of 202 MPH. The aircraft has eight motors and rotors ahead and behind the wings. The front four tilt from vertical to horizontal for cruise. The rear rotors are fixed in the vertical position and stow when they’re not needed for takeoff or landing.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. “It was also believed to be the first time a U.K.-developed aircraft has had a first flight in 20 years.” – Amazing factoid and not in a good way. Due to regulatory environment? RIO issues? Does that include amateur-built designs?

    • You might get an answer to that question, and it might be right, but the reality is that it’s a million little things as well as a few big things most every time. Mostly, it’s bad government. In this case, they are likely still feeling the effects of pre Thatcher central planning.