Vertaxi (御风未来), a Chinese eVTOL pioneer, revealed to media that it had just conducted a maiden flight of its M1 model in suburban Shanghai, as a prelude to its efforts to obtain a type certificate from China’s aviation authorities.
The flight took place at an airport in Jinshan of Shanghai, Vertaxi says in an official WeChat post.
Following the flight, the M1 model will also be put on display for the first time to global visitors at the 6th China International Import Expo, due to be held on November 5-10.
M1 boasts a lift-and-cruise architecture, with 20 rotary blades and a capacity of 500 kg.
The 5-seat aircraft cruises at a maximum 200 kph and has a design range of 250 km.
Vertaxi explains that its aerial vehicles will be applied to provide intercity and intracity commutes and other types of short-distance “flying car” services.
This scenario, if achieved, will shorten a car ride of two to three hours to half an hour, the company said.
Fast pace of development
In June 2022, Vertaxi released the M1 design plan and less than six months later, the first prototype of M1 rolled off the production line at a Vertaxi assembling facility.
Since then, the company put its aircraft to a variety of tests and gave it multiple facelifts, before scheduling a first round of flights starting in September this year.
Within 30 days of the tests, Vertaxi said it completed ground test, electro magnetic compatibility test, full-dynamic aerial test,
aeroelasticity test and more.
“The successful maiden flight of M1 proved our judgment about China’s new energy technology and industrial chain,” Xie Ling, founder and CEO of Vertaxi. “The rapid growth and iteration of China’s battery, motor and electric control techniques can more than underpin the electrification of China’s and even the world’s aviation industry.”
He added Vertaxi is confident in keeping the core eVTOL supply chain within China through dedication to independent development。
Maturity of domestic supply chain
Dr. Liu Shiyi, co-founder and CTO of the company, also pins high hopes on building homegrown eVTOL aircraft, but he admits challenges lied ahead.
For instance, eVTOL is a new invention, meaning that the domestic new energy chain companies will have to adapt and evolve in order to meet the demand of eVTOL practitioners.
“But this will be an inevitable process for the indigenous eVTOL supply chain to become mature,” Liu explained.
China’s eVTOL space is indeed gaining traction over recent months. A development outline issued by the country’s three ministries and civil aviation administration mandates that by 2025, eVTOL aircraft is to be operated on a trial basis.
And by 2035, new general aviation equipment, especially eVTOL devices, that are unmanned, electric and intelligent will achieve commercialized adoption at scale, the document indicates.
Aside from the policy stimulus, industrial news also offered a shot in the arm. EHang (亿航智能), one of the nation’s first tech startups to tap into eVTOL technologies, obtained the world’s first type certificate on October 13, setting off a frenzy through the global urban air mobility community.