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Vertical Aerospace Sees Release Date Slip

Vx4 Development Continues, With Bumps Along the Way

Vertical Aerospace has pushed its certification timetable back towards the end of 2026 after a confluence of factors began to induce drag on operations.

The plan now has been revised to obtain certification in Vertical’s home nation, getting the UK Civil Aviation Authority's signoff on the Vx4. Unlike many of their competitors, Vertical is breaking new ground, with portions of the nascent eVTOL scene being ironed out with regulators as they go along. Where AAM OEMs in the US and EU can rely on some increased bureaucratic momentum in developing eVTOL standards, Vertical is having to engage with both the CAA and EASA over the finer points of the regulatory framework needed to get the Vx4 off the ground. 

The company’s chief technology officer, MIchael Cervenka, assured followers that the firm wasn’t hurting for money, though costs were higher than expected. The company went public in 2021, bringing in $300 million with an eye towards certification of their Vx4 eVTOL in 2025. But administrative costs have continued to burn cash, 55% above expectations. Cervenka said that Vertical was doing just fine, though, especially compared to other operators. The process isn’t all that taxing, but it adds more institutional drag at a time when Vertical needs to be keeping up with the rest of the eVTOL pack.

Additional supply chain issues have further obstructed the way, according to Cervenka. ““We have brought in additional supply-chain partners and have to understand how we end up with a better-integrated plan. For instance, we were asking Rolls-Royce for equipment before we were ready for it or before we were ready to certify.” Like many others, the team had problems with sourcing the right batteries, with the right capabilities. “We need batteries that are being mass produced rather than in a lab, and Molicel has reached the sweet spot with a battery that is both good in terms of energy and also power density, which is especially important for landing.” 

“Our cash burn is fairly stable, and our cash rate is only about a third to a quarter of others,” he said in an interview with FutureFlight. “Our massive advantage is we’re an OEM and we’re not having to do ridesharing and all the other stuff.” 

Cervenka said the aircraft will soon begin their test flights in the coming months, with a second airframe taking part in the process. After Vx4 number 2 is complete, the first of Vertical’s certification aircraft will begin. He said the choice to focus the first aircraft on ground testing was a good move. “Using ground power for the first aircraft was the right decision because we could do a lot of running with all our test pilots both indoors and outside.”



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