Vertical Aerospace has identified a propeller issue as the most likely cause of an Aug. 9 flight testing accident involving its VX4 electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) prototype. According to the company, “an unexpected fault occurred causing the aircraft to enter a stable descent, before being damaged on impact with the ground.” Vertical reported that the propeller in use was an early generation model that had “already been redesigned prior to the incident.”
“We are pleased with our flight test progress to date and the data, insights and invaluable learnings we have collected,” said Vertical founder and CEO Stephen Fitzpatrick. “While a fault of any sort is disappointing, it is not wholly unexpected at this stage of testing a novel aircraft. … Our planned second upgraded prototype, which will include most of our top tier partners’ technology, will have us in the air early next year and we remain on track for our certification timelines.”
Vertical says it is also in the process of implementing additional undisclosed recommendations stemming from its investigation. The company noted that it has submitted a report to the U.K.’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) and intends to provide an update once the AAIB has concluded its own investigation. As previously reported by AVweb, the accident took place at Vertical’s flight test center at Cotswold Airport (GBA) in the U.K.