Last week, Vertical Aerospace, an eVTOL company in Bristol, UK, publicly debuted a full-scale model of its electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Named the “VX4”, the company said the new aircraft was designed in partnership with Rolls Royce and Honeywell Aerospace.
The eventual production VA-X4 aircraft is capable of transporting a pilot and four passengers across distances of a range over 100 miles (161 km) at top speeds of over 200 mph (322 km/h). In addition, the air taxi produces minimal noise, making around 60 dB in a hover and 45 dB in cruise mode, which is 100 times quieter than a helicopter.
In terms of design, the VA-X4 is very similar to the Wisk and Archer, combining vectored thrust, a wing-borne, V-tailed hybrid between the lift & cruise. The VA-X4 has eight reasonably large-diameter props arranged on either side of the wing edges. Four of them tilt to make the transition between vertical takeoff and horizontal flight like an airplane. The rear four can’t tilt, but they can scissor up to stack and sit like a two-bladed prop to reduce drag in forward flight.
With speeds over 200mph, near-silent when in flight, zero emissions, and low cost per passenger mile, the VA-X4 is expected to open up advanced air mobility to a whole new range of passengers and transform how we travel.
So far, Vertical Aerospace has announced more pre-sales than anyone else in the eVTOL industry – more than 1,350 aircraft to date, totaling $5.4 billion. The company is targeting the highest global certification for its VA-X4, which is expected to achieve the equivalent safety standard of a passenger jet by 2024, based on the expected standards promulgated by the European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA).