This eVTOL Achieves New Record by Flying 155 Miles on Single Charge
The Prosperity 1 aircraft of AutoFlight traveled 155.74 miles in its flight. As a result, the company argues, eVTOLs are capable of going the distance that they are advertised to do.
The AutoFlight company has released a video showing its Prosperity 1 eVTOL breaking a competitor's distance record by a substantial margin. As a result of the battery's lithium-ion technology, the four-seat Gen4 air taxi was able to travel 250.64 kilometers, or 155.74 miles, on a single charge, narrowly beating Joby Aviation's record of 248, or 154.1 kilometers, set in 2021.
It should be noted that both records are for the longest fully electric aircraft flight that took off and landed vertically at the same time. It is believed that Prosperity 1 did 20 loops around a track near its Chinese manufacturing facility over the course of its test.
“The important thing is not that we beat a competitor’s record, but that we were the second company to fly this distance,” said AutoFlight's president, Omer Bar-Yohay. “We have proven that building a safe aircraft and battery will allow you to fly a feasible mission. It’s proof that it’s not too far.”
Joby, Lilium, Archer, Vertical Aerospace, and others are among the companies who have successfully performed test flights in the eVTOL sector. Taking into account that AutoFlight was founded just a year ago, today's announcement came as a shock, given the fact that it hasn't courted publicity like the other companies, where public stock is traded.
“We’re the company you’ve never heard of,” explained Bar-Yohay. “In some ways, that was by design. We’re privately owned and weren’t part of the publicly traded stack, so we didn’t need a visible funding perspective.”
Manufacturing is done in China, commercial operations are in the US, and engineering is done in Germany, so the company considers itself transnational. Frank Stephenson, who has designed cars for Ferrari, Maserati, McLaren and Mini, wrote Prosperity 1.
“We have a very strong team of designers and engineers in Augsburg, Germany,” said Bar-Yohay. “They will guide us through our certification with EASA.” EASA stands for the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, which is equivalent to the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States.
According to Rich Report, Bar-Yohay says the company targets EASA airworthiness certification for 2025. However, there are several moving parts, so the date may change. “Will it slide to 2026?” he says. “Maybe. But it definitely won’t slide to 2030.”
In order for an eVTOL manufacturer to succeed, he adds, three elements must be present. “Safety first through redundancy and simple design,” he emphasizes. “Then you need for it to be quiet. Ours measures only 65 dBa at 300 feet. It also has to be cost-effective—comparable to a light helicopter. I think we could have the silver bullet that opens the market.”
The fourth-generation eVTOL will move forward with more testing and design modifications.
However, he quickly adds, “we’re not there yet.” Tests of Prosperity 1 will continue as the design and manufacturing teams progress towards the development of newer iterations of the product. It is expected that the first certified vehicle will be used for cargo transportation, followed by passenger transport in the future.
It was remote piloted by Prosperity 1 when it set the record, but future versions of the vehicle will have human pilots. “This record helps us push back on the skeptics who said it can’t be done,” added Bar-Yohay. “Now, our strategic objective is to mature the project to a conforming prototype, a final configuration that will let us go to market.”