The United Kingdom (UK) Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) granted the first-ever electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) Design Organization Approval (DOA) to Vertical Aerospace.
The first-ever DOA given to an eVTOL manufacturer means that Vertical Aerospace can continue to progress with the certification of the VX4 eVTOL aircraft. Without the approval, UK or European Union (EU)-based companies cannot obtain a Type Certificate (TC) for their product. According to the eVTOL manufacturer, the DOA “authorizes Vertical to conduct design activities and issue design approvals within the DOA’s scope of approval”. Furthermore, Vertical Aerospace “will have increasing authority and privileges as we progress through the design and certification programme of the VX4”.
According to the company, certification has now officially commenced with the UK’s CAA, as well as the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) and the United States (US) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Previously, for eVTOLs the UK CAA had adopted EASA’s Means of Compliance Special Conditions (SC), which are the standards that manufacturers will have to adhere to in order to build certifiable eVTOL aircraft.
“I am immensely proud that Vertical is the first British electric aircraft company in history to receive a DOA from the UK aviation regulator. This approval is a critical step forward in our mission to decarbonise air travel and bring the UK’s first electric aircraft to market,” stated Stephen Fitzpatrick, the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Vertical Aerospace.
Meanwhile, the UK CAA’s Design and Certification Manager Garry Lathey added that granting the first-ever DOA to an eVTOL manufacturer emphasizes the UK’s commitment to making the country “a key destination for aviation innovators”.
“It’s also vital that this work has an international impact and so in all our efforts we aim to work collaboratively with other regulatory bodies around the world to support the future of eVTOL flight and maintain the high safety standards that the public expects,” Lathey concluded.
Vertical Aerospace’s VX4 eVTOL aircraft is expected to be able to carry four passengers and a single pilot for distances up to 160.9 kilometers (100 miles). The company has over 1,400 orders from various customers, including American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Japan Airlines, Brazil’s GOL and others.
In September 2022, following the UK CAA’s permit to fly, VX4 conducted its first test flights under special conditions.