The future of aviation – how Vertical Aerospace has found a solution

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I love travelling.  I still get excited going to the airport and the idea of being transported to a different place. I believe flying helps make our world a better place, connecting people, businesses and nations across the globe, building human, cultural and political understanding that lead to shared prosperity and peace. However, it’s increasingly difficult to ignore the fact that air travel contributes significantly to global warming, and that right now, we simply don’t have a good alternative to burning fossil fuels in the air.

Yet it cannot be that the only way we’re going to solve climate change is to do less, to travel less, to turn back time and forgo the advantages technology has brought us. I simply don’t believe humans are designed to do this. The answer must be to find a solution to making air travel carbon free.

This is the most exciting time in aviation for almost a century; electrification will transform flying in the 21st century in the same way the jet engine did 70 years ago. By combining the exceptional talents of our in-house team in Bristol with our partner ecosystem of American Airlines, Microsoft, Honeywell, Avolon and Rolls-Royce amongst others, we believe we can achieve our aim of making our VA-X4 aircraft the first zero emissions aircraft that most people can fly on.

So, who is Vertical?

The United Kingdom is already a global leader in aerospace innovation, and we believe Vertical Aerospace will be the European engineering champion to drive the aviation industry forward.

Over the past five years from our factory in Bristol we’ve been quietly building the best engineering team in our industry. Today, Vertical is the leading British aerospace manufacturer focused on the design, manufacture, sale and servicing of the world’s best eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft, the VA-X4. Our mission is to make air travel personal, on demand and, crucially, carbon free. With speeds over 200mph, near silent when in flight, zero emissions and low cost per passenger mile, the VA-X4 will open up urban air mobility to a whole new range of passengers and transform how we travel.

We’ve brought together some of the most experienced engineers and experts from top-tier aerospace and technology companies to make this a reality, including from Airbus, Rolls-Royce, General Dynamics and Jaguar Land Rover. Across our team, we have more than 1,200 years of experience and have previously built and certified more than 30 aircraft and propulsion systems.

By combining this world-class team with a deliberately built ecosystem of top-tier partners, Vertical has assembled a broad mix of people and organisations with both commercial track records as well as experience testing, building and certifying some of the world’s most advanced aircraft.

The future of aviation

A lot of research and commentary has already been written about the eVTOL market, including by one of our key regulators, EASA, who have stated that “by 2024-25, UAM [urban air mobility] may be a lived reality in Europe”. We fully agree, and the opportunity is real, and it is now. As urban populations grow, and we make the shift to a zero-carbon economy, the demand for eVTOL aircraft will be significant. The technologies we develop today will go on to power larger and more capable aircraft, carrying more passengers farther and farther, and all carbon free.

In 2009 I launched OVO Energy, seeing an opportunity to transform an industry by rapidly adopting new zero carbon technology whilst bringing an amazing experience to customers. I learnt with OVO that incumbents can be really slow to change. It is often new companies that adopt technology from the ground up, so they are digital or electric native, who will be those that succeed. I see a similar opportunity today in aviation. It will be electric aircraft companies, like Vertical, that dominate the skies in the 21st Century.

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