Virgin Atlantic Is Exploring ‘Flying Taxi’ Partnership with Vertical Aerospace
Vertical Aerospace Has Signed Deals with American Airline, Virgin Atlantic, And Avalon for VA-X4
Virgin Atlantic is currently looking to explore the possibility of launching a flying taxi service as a part of their partnership with Vertical Aerospace, which is a Bristol-based aviation firm. The airline has given a suggestion for flying taxi, which would use the electric vertical take-off, and landing vehicles (eVTOL) would be used to fly from small towns to major city’s airports as it would help reduce travel time.
The Vertical Aerospace would soon start to conduct test flights of their eVTOL aircraft for the flying taxi project within this year. One of the experts said that the proposal given by the Virgin Atlantic is less radical than the previous other models given by air taxi firms, but has still given the argument that there would be multiple challenges ahead in the future for this project of flying taxi to work as smoothly as intended.
Suggestions for flying taxi
Multiple firms have promoted the idea of autonomous flying taxi in the past few years that would be able to pick up the passengers from the roof tops of various city centers and would drop them to their required destination.
The suggestion put forward by Virgin Atlantic for their take on flying taxi is slightly more disciplined. According to their proposal, the eVTOL aircraft would pick the passengers from a city like Cambridge and would be able to easily fly them to an airport of a major city like London Heathrow. This would help reduce the travel time for the passenger as compared to traveling such a long distance on land.
It has been confirmed by Vertical Aerospace that their VA-X4 aircraft would be used for this flying taxi project and are able to carry at most four passengers along with a single pilot up to 100 miles above from the ground. They are emission-free, and they are electric aircraft, and are much quieter than a regular helicopter.
In fact, it has been claimed by the firm that the eVTOL VA-X4 crafts are near silent when they are at cruising altitude.
It has already made a partnership with American Airlines and an aircraft-leasing firm Avalon before confirming their joint project with Virgin Atlantic for flying taxi.
Feasibility of eVTOL VA-X4
The president of Vertical Aerospace, Michael Cervenka, has stated that currently, the VA-X4 is surrounded by a lot of hype in the market. The firm has taken the approach which is pushing against the boundaries of the available technology terms but would not be entering beyond that limit.
With a wingspan of almost 15 meters (equivalent to 49 feet), the eVTOL aircraft would have to fly from specially designated spots, including regional airports and helipads. As with any other flying vehicle, the VA-X4 would undergo routine regulatory checks and have to follow strict safety protocols during all flying taxi flights.
The associate professor of aviation and the environment currently working at the Cranfield University, Dr. Guy Gratton, has given a good indication regarding the achievements of modern electric aircraft that are to come in the future.
He explained that the Velis would be able to carry two individuals, half a toothbrush, and still able to fly for around 1.25 hours. This is the format of a conventional airplane and a pretty efficient model as compared to anything which has been developed with the vertical take-off and landing.
The VA-X4 aircraft would not have any noise and are to be very quieter than a helicopter, although the wings and rotors are to still make noise during forwarding flight. Meanwhile, the sound would not be any louder than a refrigerator for those on the ground when the aircraft is cruising overhead while working as a flying taxi.
Dr. Gratton also said that the goal of the firm is to achieve a new milestone while using the current technological innovations, rather than waiting in hopes for a new invention for a magical new electric battery.
Although to achieve the lavish visual of flying taxis that would be carrying passengers from one skyscraper to another would be required to have a new technology for air-traffic control, along with the acceptance by the public for more aircraft across the city and massive automatic improvements along with regulatory changes which could possibly be decades away before being achieved.
On Thursday, the plans have been announced by Vertical Aerospace for the firm to be listed on the New York stock exchange, after the merger with Broadstone, in a contract that valued the company’s worth to $2.2 billion.