German electric air mobility start-up Volocopter has completed the first ever public crewed test flight of a fully electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) air taxi in the United States.
Volocopter is currently developing a range of electric aircraft for both passengers and cargo including the VoloCity and larger VoloConnect air taxis, and the VoloDrone heavy-lift drone.
However, at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture 2021 currently being held in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Volocopter conducted the first ever public crewed test flight of an eVTOL air taxi in the US.
The test flight took place in the company’s Volocopter 2X, an earlier prototype of the promised VoloCity which is expected to debut in the coming years and which is currently undergoing its certification process with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for commercial launch.
The successful crewed test flight marks an important milestone for the company as it moves towards not reaching certification for its air taxis, but also in building public awareness of eVTOL air taxis.
“Volocopter successfully conducting the first US public manned test flight of an eVTOL company in the US is a milestone for the industry and a reminder that our commercial launch is fast approaching,” said Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter.
“We can talk about our lead in certification, low noise emissions, and global partnerships all we want, but nothing shows just how close we are to launch UAM as a service as does flying an air taxi in front of crowds and inviting people to sit in our aircraft.
“Air taxis are coming, and we are working to bring electric flights to cities around the globe in the next two to three years.”
The crewed test flight lasted for four minutes and reached a height of 164-feet and a top speed of 29km/h over Wittman Regional Airport.
Volocopter is the only eVTOL developer to hold both a Design Organisation Approval and Production Organisation Approval from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, two strategic certification approvals to design and produce aircraft in-house.
Once Volocopter’s air taxis are certified by EASA for commercial launch, the company will be positioned for concurrent type certification approvals in the U.S. from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), having applied earlier this year, and the civil aviation authority in Singapore (CAAS).
It is in Singapore that Volocopter is currently expecting to make its official commercial debut. Volocopter announced in December 2020 that it had committed to launch air taxi services in Singapore after two years of close collaboration with the city.Volocopter is planning to make air taxi services a reality in Singapore within three years.