Vertical Aerospace’s VX4 eVTOL Crashes During Flight Test
Vertical Aerospace, a UK-based company developing electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, has confirmed that its VX4 was involved in an accident during a flight test at Cotswold Airport on August 9, 2023. The aircraft was remotely piloted (unoccupied) and there were no injuries, according to the company.
The VX4 is a four-seat eVTOL Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) aircraft that uses four tilting propellers for lift and thrust, and four fixed propellers for additional lift. The aircraft has a wingspan of 15 meters and a range of 100 miles. Vertical Aerospace aims to achieve type certification for the VX4 by the end of 2026 and start commercial operations in 2027.
The company said in a statement that 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. The company says it is cooperating in the accident investigation with authorities.
Photos of the crash site showed significant damage to the starboard wing, one of the tilting propellers, and part of the landing gear. The aircraft appeared to have fallen from a height of about 20 feet, according to a source at the airport quoted in social media.
The accident is a setback for Vertical Aerospace, which has secured over $4 billion worth of pre-orders for its eVTOL aircraft from customers such as American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and Avolon, a leasing firm. The company also has strategic partnerships with Rolls-Royce, Honeywell, and Leonardo for various components of its aircraft.
The VX4 is the first full-scale prototype built by Vertical Aerospace, and it started untethered flight testing in June 2023. The company is currently assembling a second prototype that will have improved performance and hardware focused on achieving regulatory certification.
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