German Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) startup Volocopter conducted its first crewed public test flight in Italy on Thursday morning. During the two-day event the flight launched from a vertiport built at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport, Italy’s first advanced air mobility (AAM) test vertiport meant to show what a service between the airport and the city of Rome would look like.
Aeroporti di Roma is working towards starting the first commercial operation between the airport and Rome by 2024, so the disclosure of Vertiport as a functional station for eVTOL takeoff and landing is a milestone in Italy’s AAM industry .
The five-minute test flight was less about picking up passengers (which it didn’t) and more about showing the 2-seater Volocity air taxi to relevant stakeholders. As onlookers watched, the test pilot flew the Volocopter’s EVTOL twice along a figure 8 path to a speed of about 25 mph and an altitude of about 131 feet. According to Volocopter, the test was conducted with the blessings of the Italian authorities, the Ante Nazionale per l’Avizione Civil (Civil Aviation Authority) and the Ante Nazionale Assistenza al Volo (Air Traffic Control).
The Volocopter’s test flight also marks the first time Rome has used Vertiport. According to Volocopter, the Vertiport is designed to host tests for both flight and ground operations, such as battery charging. The electrical system there allows a variety of tests for different EVTOL charging technologies, such as battery swapping or fast charging.
The Vertiport infrastructure, which takes up approximately 1,800 square footage, includes: “a final approach and takeoff area (FATO) for landing and takeoff operations; a parking area; a covered hangar measuring 20 x 20 x 6 m; Volocopter Various rooms including an office, a warehouse and an area for charging batteries, according to a statement from the U.S.
For its first Vertiport, Italy aims to set an example for the design and manufacture of international Vertiports. During the Vertiport demo, Volocopter also showcased its branded VoloIQ digital platform, which the startup says supports everything from booking to management of flight operations, and is designed to support the scaling of AAM to cities around the world. will help.
In May, Volocopter’s four-seat drone taxi, the Voloconnect, also completed its first test flight. Earlier this year, the startup raised $170 million at a valuation of $1.87 billion.