Watch: ‘First crewed public test flight’ of eVTOL in South Korea

Germany’s Volocopter flies its 2X electric, vertical takeoff and landing air taxi in Seoul.

Germany-based Volocopter announced Thursday the “first ever crewed, public test flight of a fully electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) air taxi in South Korea.”

The demonstration marked Volocopter’s continued expansion into the Asian market. Earlier this year it announced a partnership with Japan Airlines to launch an air taxi service in Japan.

Thursday’s flight by the 2X aircraft flew a 3-kilometer (1.9 mile) test route at Seoul’s Gimpo International Airport (RKSS), reaching a top speed of 45 km/h (28 mph) and an altitude of about 50 meters (55 yards), the company said in a statement.

On site for the demonstration were South Korean officials including the Minister for Land, Infrastructure, and Transport Noh Hyeong Ouk, along with representatives of the European Union and the German Embassy.

“South Korea is well positioned to achieve the goal of commercializing [Urban Air Mobility] by 2025,” said EU Ambassador Maria Castillo Fernandez in the release.

Last July in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Volocopter made a big splash at the annual EAA AirVenture airshow with the two-seat, 18-rotor eVTOL prototype. The brief flight demonstration was billed as the first publicly crewed eVTOL air taxi test flight in the United States.

Volocopter is developing three eVTOL models—for short routes around town, for suburb-to-city routes, and for transporting heavy-lift goods. Showing some swagger, the Germany-based company predicts it will offer air taxi service in Paris with its short-range VoloCity model during the 2024 Olympic Games—less than three years from now.


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