AutoFlight, a Chinese high-tech startup, announced the successful completion of the proof-of-concept transition test flight for its air taxi, Prosperity I. The ‘transition’ involves the aircraft switching from a vertical take-off motion to the more energy-efficient, horizontal flight and back to vertical flight before landing.
The Prosperity I aircraft, capable of carrying three passengers and a pilot, promises a range of up to 155 miles (250 km) at cruising speeds of 124 mph (200 km/h).
Achieved in January 2022, the successful transition test flight took place at the AutoFlight flight test area in JiangSu province, China. The unmanned aerial vehicle rose to an altitude of 150 meters at speeds of up to 123 mph (198 km/h).
During the test flight, the vertical flight for the proof of concept for Prosperity I required eight rotors to lift the 3,307 pounds, including four-person, state-of-the-art electric aircraft into the air. Once the air taxi reaches an altitude of 150 meters and an airspeed of 100-110 mph, the fixed-wing part of the eVTOL generated lift. At this point, the Prosperity I entered the complex transition phase. The rotors on the top stopped spinning and locked in a streamlined position, while the propellers on the rear pushed the aircraft forward like a traditional fixed-wing plane.
“Achieving a smooth transition phase in record time, from prototype to flight, underlines the caliber of the engineering team we have at AutoFlight and gives great confidence as we progress into the development phase and layout plans for our first manned aircraft, the Prosperity I,” said Mark Henning, Managing Director of AutoFlight Europe. “The simplicity of AutoFlight’s design lies in our patented ‘Lift and Cruise’ configuration, which combines superior range and safety with low technical complexity, making it affordable to manufacture, maintain and operate as an air taxi.”
The company plans to begin the certification program for this air taxi this year, with completion expected by 2025.