New flight footage has been released by British aerospace manufacturer Vertical Aerospace of an electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle (eVTOL) prototype, named Seraph, which completed its maiden flight at Llanbedr Airfield in Wales in August.
Vertical Aerospace’s Seraph can reach a top speed of 80 km/h and is shown in the video taking off, flying down an open runway, and landing, utilising its six electric-powered rotors.
Able to carry loads of up to 250 kg, the Seraphwas built to test new technologies and systems for integration into the company’s upcoming passenger model which it expects to unveil next year.
“Today is another major milestone on the path towards carbon free flight,” explained Stephen Fitzpatrick, Founder and CEO of Vertical Aerospace.
“One year ago, we flew a full-scale electric VTOL aircraft, the UK’s first.
Today, we’re revealing flight footage of our second full scale prototype, the Seraph, an air taxi prototype capable of carrying 250kg. Air travel is one of the worst contributors to climate change and among the slowest sectors to decarbonise.
Our mission at Vertical Aerospace is to make personal, on demand and carbon free flight a reality.”
Founded in 2016 by entrepreneur Stephen Fitzpatrick, Vertical Aerospace’s mission is “to make air travel personal, on-demand, and carbon free,” and has grown its team to include over 50 engineers and technical experts who have been recruited from Airbus, Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Jaguar Land Rover and Formula 1.
Vertical Aerospace is also utilising the expertise of its Formula 1 veterans to influence its aerospace engineering in the hopes of what the company expects is a trillion-dollar commercial aviation industry.
The test flight footage was released at the same time as Vertical Aerospace announced the acquisition of MGI, an F1 engineering consultancy led by British motorsport veteran Mike Gascoyne who, along with his team of 20 specialists, will form Vertical Advanced Engineering.
Gascoyne’s team bring with them decades of experience building high-performance Formula 1 and Formula E vehicles, and expertise gained by working for international racing teams including Williams, McLaren, Tyrell, Benetton, Renault, and Lotus.
“We have long believed that the technologies and approaches from Formula 1 could be applied to a range of engineering challenges,” said Mike Gascoyne, CTO of the new Vertical Advanced Engineering.
“Vertical Aerospace’s vision provides a fantastic outlet for our experience and a unique opportunity to shape the future of flight.”
“Joining the Vertical team will allow us to work on cutting edge engineering programs while continuing to provide world-class consultancy services to the wider engineering community.”
The Vertical Advanced Engineering team will bring their wide and varied expertise to bear on applying the latest technologies and agile processes from Formula 1 to the development of eVTOL aircraft including, for example, best practice in building fast, light-weight composite structures.
The acquisition of MGI and the formation of Vertical Advanced Engineering will allow Vertical Aerospace the opportunity to accelerate its development of eVTOL technology and speed the company on its way to introducing piloted air taxi services for city-to-city routes.
The company is already working closely with global aviation regulators, including the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and, over time, the company aims to expand the number of chartered routes served while eventually introducing elements of autonomy before, ultimately, bringing completely on-demand air taxis a reality.