A Bristol-based startup is going head-to-head with the big guns in the race to get a British air taxi service ready for take off.
The company has demonstrated its full-scale electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft in action.
Vertical Aerospace sent the test aircraft up unmanned, as it works towards offering British air taxi services within four years.
The aim of the project is to carry up to four passengers on short-range routes within a 750kg pod.
“Passenger numbers for short-haul flights have exploded in recent years, but as a result aviation is now a major contributor to climate change and local air pollution,” explained Vertical Aerospace founder Stephen Fitzpatrick.
“Congestion around airports has become a huge problem and for flights of 500 miles or less, we are spending more time travelling to and from the plane than we are in the air.”
The company said it has learned a lot from Formula 1. Its designs focus on lightweight materials, aerodynamics and electrical systems.
“By putting those technologies in the hands of experienced aerospace engineers, we can build cutting-edge aircraft for the 21st century,” he added.
Vertical Aerospace was given permission by the Civil Aviation Authority to carry out the test flight from Cotswold Airport in Kemble, Gloucestershire, in June. It is now seeking certification from regulators to operate on piloted short-range routes.
Vertical Aerospace face competition of course. Uber are among the companies looking at flying taxis and are looking to roll out their service in major cities around the world. Kitty Hawk which is backed by Google co-founder Larry Page are also developing flying taxis.
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