Watch AutoFlight’s Air Taxi Test Article Go from Vertical to Horizontal Flight

Chinese electric vertical takeoff and landing company accelerates global expansion.

Chinese electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) company AutoFlight is moving forward with plans for a new research and development facility in Germany, while continuing to test its new passenger air taxi prototype.

This week, AutoFlight released new video showing its Prosperity I proof of concept test article transitioning from vertical to horizontal flight—among the most challenging flight phases for eVTOL aircraft. Prosperity is intended to be AutoFlight’s first passenger aircraft, after focusing solely on cargo drones.

Its lift-and-cruise configuration includes eight lift rotors on twin booms and two propellers in the rear for propulsion.

In the video, the eVTOL’s lift rotors stop and lock and the rear propellers push the aircraft forward.

The design also uses a long-span main wing for added lift during cruise.

About the Aircraft 

With a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 1,500 kg (3,306 lbs), Prosperity I is designed to accommodate up to three passengers and one pilot. Its intended range is 250 km (135 nm)  and maximum speed 200 km/h (108 knots).

Tian Yu, AutoFlight’s CEO and founder says the company has been working with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) toward certificating a production version of the aircraft, which AutoFlight says will be “ready for passenger transport by 2025.”

Prosperity I is designed for three passengers and a pilot with a 250 km (155 sm) range and top speed of 200 km/h (124 mph). [Courtesy: AutoFlight]

Global Expansion Efforts

WIth its sights set on global expansion, AutoFlight is flush with new capital. Team Global, a Germany-based tech holding company, invested $100 million in AutoFlight last year. This week, AutoFlight brought in former Airbus manager Mark Robert Henning as managing director at AutoFlight Europe. 

Henning, an aeronautical engineer and graduate of Munich’s Technical University, is a 26 year veteran of the aviation industry, launching his career at DASA and eventually holding leadership positions at EADS and Eurocopter.

Previously, Henning served as manager for governmental business at Airbus’s helicopter division and head of product for the EC135.

The company also plans to build a research and development and certification center at Germany’s Augsburg airport (EDMA).

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