First Hover Flights For Amsl's Vertiia eVTOL Prototype
A first-of-its-kind eVTOL aircraft made in Australia has taken flight. A prototype of AMSL Aero's five-seat Vertiia eVTOL aircraft was successfully hovered for the first time on Tuesday, according to the company.
The Vertiia prototype has been tested remotely 11 times since AMSL Aero began its flight testing campaign, a company spokesperson said. During the tethered flights, the aircraft reached altitudes of up to three meters (10 feet) and lasted approximately one minute, with one flight lasting 90 seconds. Just west of Sydney, in the Central West region of New South Wales, hover fight tests were conducted.
“The Vertiia prototype flew better than we expected," explained Andrew Moore, AMSL's CEO and inventor of the Vertiia. "It was remarkably smooth and a delight to fly.”
AMSL claims that this is the first flight of an Australian-designed and built eVTOL aircraft. A single charge will extend the Vertiia's range to about 250 kilometers (155 miles), making it the world's most energy-efficient and longest-range eVTOL aircraft. Lilium, a company that offers an eVTOL model with seven seats, is targeting similar range limitations.
A seven-meter (23 feet) blown-wing structure is equipped with eight sets of motors and propellers. While maintaining the compact size needed to operate in tight urban areas, the blown-wing configuration provides the aircraft with the same aerodynamic efficiency as fixed-wing eVTOLs with larger wingspans. Vertiia is currently being tested with a prototype that weighs 1,500 kilograms (3,300 pounds), just slightly smaller than the production version. It is estimated that the full-scale version will weigh less than 2,000 kilograms (4,400 pounds).
The company hopes to eventually develop a hydrogen-powered version of the Vertiia that would have four times the range of the all-electric version. Additionally, the company is exploring a fully autonomous version of the aircraft without a pilot.
Four passengers plus a pilot can sit on board the full-scale Vertiia aircraft, which can transport up to 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) of cargo. Three medical personnel and a single patient could be accommodated in a third cabin configuration for air ambulance operations. A memorandum of understanding has already been signed between AMSL and Sydney-based CareFlight for development of aeromedical applications for rural and regional healthcare in Australia.
“The technology was developed for the harsh long-distance conditions in Australia, and if it can work in Australia, it can work anywhere,” said AMSL co-founder Siobhan Lyndon.
""Vertiia eliminates the need for a runway in aeromedical airplanes," Lyndon continued. As a result, patients can be transported directly from any location straight to the hospital, drastically reducing the time and complexity involved in transportation. Additionally, it will be quieter and safer than helicopters and will eventually cost less to maintain and operate than a car, making aeromedical transportation more affordable, accessible, safe, and reliable.”
The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority has been working closely with AMSL since 2018 to develop the Vertiia. Vertiia prototype has already been certified experimentally and has received an airworthiness certificate. Private investors and government sources have contributed over AU$40 million ($27.4 million) to AMSL Aero. By 2026, the company expects its aircraft to achieve type certification and enter service