New eVTOL Vertical Rotor Aircraft Joins the Aerospace Race

The VA-1X will be an air taxi once it's completed.
Fabienne Lang

The future's air space may look entirely different from the one we know and recognize in today's world. This will be especially true for vertical rotor electric aircraft, or vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

The U.K.'s Vertical Aerospace is joining the electric rotor aircraft race and has shared its designs and information about its upcoming VA-1X five-seater air taxi. 


The VA-1X

As soon as you see the VA-1X's design renders you'll notice how sleek it looks (perhaps something the U.S. Air Force could learn from given its latest flying car designs).

The VA-1X's V-shaped tail and eight rotors fit smoothly together and don't look all squished atop one another as the aircraft has a comfortable 49 foot-wide (15 meters) wingspan. 

New eVTOL Vertical Rotor Aircraft Joins the Aerospace Race
Illustration of the VA-1X, Source: Vertical Aerospace

The four front rotors of the aircraft can operate separately to the ones in the rear, with the front ones capable of tilting upwards in order to level the flight. The rear ones can fold and stack away once the aircraft is in flight so as to reduce any drag. 

Moreover, to keep the flight as smooth as possible, the landing gear can also retract and fold inside the body of the aircraft.

New eVTOL Vertical Rotor Aircraft Joins the Aerospace Race
The interior seating design, Source: Vertical Aerospace

As per Vertical Aerospace's information, the VA-1X can cruise up to a speed of 150 mph (241 km/h), with its lithium-ion battery pack able to keep it going over a range of 100 miles (161 km) between charges. 

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The aircraft can land on helipads and thanks to its design will be 30 times quieter than regular helicopters. 

In terms of the interior, Honeywell is in charge of developing and supplying the flight control system. 

New eVTOL Vertical Rotor Aircraft Joins the Aerospace Race
The pilot's seat, Source: Vertical Aerospace

The ultimate plan is to offer air taxi services, which will hopefully reduce traffic pollution, noise pollution, and congested city roads. 

You'll have to hold your breath until 2024, though, as the VA-1X won't be taking to the skies until then. A prototype is due to be tested in 2021, and then a range of tests and regulations will take place before the aircraft is fit and safe for the public to enter. We wouldn't want another crash like this one in Dubai to occur.