The UK Government’s Future Flight Challenge has awarded a £9.5 million grant to a new consortium of leading British aviation companies.
The consortium, led by Atkins, includes Vertical Aerospace, Virgin Atlantic, Skyports, and NATS, alongside academic institutions such as Cranfield University, WMG, and the University of Warwick.
The parties plan to develop key technologies and the infrastructure needed to speed up the development of an advanced air mobility (AAM) ecosystem in the UK. The ecosystem will then test systems including aircraft electrification, airspace management, ground infrastructure, and more.
“This project brings together experts from across the industry to maintain the UK’s leading position in the future of aviation, moving us closer to commercial operations that will connect regions and contribute to the UK’s net zero target,” says James Richmond, Head of Advanced Air Mobility at Atkins.
Two flights using Vertical’s VX4 aircraft will also take place; one between Bristol Airport to an airfield in South West England, the other between London Heathrow Airport and the Living Lab vertiport. These simulations aim to explore key aspects of an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) flight, such as airspace navigation and ground charging.
“This consortium will help prove how we can deliver safer, cleaner, and quieter air travel with the VX4,” says Andrew Macmillan, Director of Strategy of Vertical Aerospace.
The project is slated to take around two years.
Vertical Aerospace recently collaborated with Babcock International to explore how eVTOLs could assist with emergency medical services and cargo transportation.
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