UK startup Vertical Aerospace gets pre-orders for up to electric air taxis
Vertical Aerospace, an electric vertical take-off & landing aircraft (eVTOLs) startup, has announced that it has received pre-orders for up to 1,000 of its electric VA-X4 aircraft. The list of companies that have placed orders for the electric VA-X4 aircraft with Vertical Aerospace includes American Airlines Inc., Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd., and aircraft leasing group Avolon. American Airlines has placed pre-order for 250 to 350 eVTOLs, while Virgin Atlantic has placed pre-order for 50 to 150 electric flying machines. Dublin, Ireland-headquartered Avolon has ordered 310 units of the VA-X4 electric aircraft.
According to details provided by the British eVTOLs startup, the VA-X4 aircraft is capable of carrying up to five people (including the pilot), cruising at speeds of 202 miles per hour (mph) with a useable range of up to 120 miles. It is set to be the world’s first certified winged eVTOL passenger flying machine, and is on course to begin offering commercial flights sometime in 2024.
The VA-X4 eVTOL will offer noise-free as well as pollution-free air travel. As per the manufacturer’s claims, it will be 100 times quieter than a helicopter, thanks to its distributed propulsion system. Its 15-meter wingspan and 13-meter length will ensure that can take off and land easily from existing helipads. The simple design of the aircraft will optimize safety, while its efficient aerodynamics will enable it to fly with far less power than a helicopter. Its payload capacity has been pegged at 450kg.
Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO of Vertical Aerospace who cofounded the eVTOL startup around five years back, said in a statement, “This is the most exciting time in aviation for almost a century. Electrification will transform flying in the 21st century in the same way the jet engine did 70 years ago.”
Airlines and other companies are foreseeing a great business potential in eVTOLs as these flying machines will help ease traffic congestion by moving people/commuters in small electric air taxis at lower costs and without polluting the environment.
Meanwhile, in Bristol, England-based Vertical Aerospace is planning to go public sometime later this year. To get listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), it is trying to strike a merger deal with Broadstone Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition Company (SPAC). The potential deal has been valued at $2.2 billion. The list of SPAC investors includes American Airlines, Rolls-Royce, Avolon, Honeywell, and Microsoft Corp.’s venture capital fund M12.