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Tue, Aug 15, 2023

Vertical Aerospace VX4 eVTOL Suffers Flight-Testing Mishap

No Injuries Reported, Condition of Prototype Unknown

Vertical Aerospace, the Bristol, UK-based concern that designs and manufactures Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft, announced on 09 August that its VX4 eVTOL prototype had suffered a mishap during a test-flight at Gloucestershire, England’s Cotswold Airport (GBA).

The company set forth in its SEC filing: “Our flight-test program is designed to establish the limits of the aircraft’s performance, and the incident occurred during an uncrewed test of the aircraft’s maneuverability during a motor failure test scenario, which is a key requirement to progress to crewed operations.”

In a recent letter to shareholders, Vertical Aerospace asserted it has “made great strides” in its flight-test program this quarter, including the conduct of the VX4’s first untethered flights.

“The aircraft lifted, hovered, flew, and landed all by the thrust of its electric propulsion system and powered only by Vertical’s proprietary battery packs,” the shareholder letter stated.

Vertical Aerospace further stated the test-aircraft had carried out 18 takeoffs and landings, and reached its target thrust-borne speed of forty-knots.

Vertical Aerospace’s VX4 is a piloted, eVTOL aircraft ostensibly capable of transporting four passengers and a pilot over a distance of 86-nautical-miles at speeds of up to 173-knots. The VX4 is intended to operate from confined, urban locations and is—according to its manufacturer—"safer than and one-hundred-times quieter than a conventional helicopter.”

Vertical has already sold significant numbers of its VX4 to customers across the aviation industry. The company’s clients include major air-carriers such as American and Virgin Atlantic Airlines, charter operators and aircraft brokerages such as Avolon and Bristow, and commercial helicopter operators.

To date, Vertical Aerospace’s books contain orders for 1,400 VX4 aircraft representing a total value of $5.6-billion.

Vertical is planning to build a second full-scale VX4 prototype at the GKN Global Technology Centre. The company contends the second demonstrator is expected to have “greater capabilities than our first prototype, including improved range and higher performance, particularly in hover.”

FMI: www.vertical-aerospace.com

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