AutoFlight puts the nose on direction to the European market. The Chinese technology company, developer of eVTOL vehicles —electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft—, has decided to step on the accelerator of its international expansion and put its first pike in the Old Continent.
The startup, headquartered in Shanghai, just announced the creation of a team at Augsburg Airport, Germany, which will be led by an industry veteran: Mark R. Henning, former director of Airbus and with more than a quarter of a century of experience in the aviation industry.
In addition to location and captain, AutoFlight lands in Europe with a clear objective: it wants its Prosperity I air taxi to be able to operate on the continent. To achieve this, the certification procedures have already begun before the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). His plans go through the process is ready in 2025. The firm, which began manufacturing logistics, cargo and unmanned drones, decided to take a leap and announced in 2020 that it was working on an air taxi concept. The model, V1500M, was introduced last year at the Zhunhao air show.
Three passengers and pilot
The V1500M – fully electric and equipped with eight lifting propellers for takeoffs and landings, another two at the rear for thrust and a fixed wing – has a cruising speed of 200 km/h and capacity to carry between three and four passengers. At maximum charge, its range is around 250 kilometers. After different flight tests, the objective of the startup asian —precise electrek— is to achieve Chinese airworthiness certification in 2024, a year before the margin in which it aspires to obtain the green light from the European regulator. For now, in the fall the company managed to successfully complete the maiden flight test of the V1500M.
The Prosperity I air taxi that AutoFlight announces for Europe also has a range of 250 kilometers and capacity to accommodate three passengers, in addition to the pilot. The firm presents it in fact as his first manned aircraft. “An expanding team will work at the Augsburg R&D and certification center. AutoFlight plans to establish other locations to carry out test and demonstration flights throughout Europe. startup Asia, which claims to be “ready to build” its eVTOL and “show the progress made in its transition tests in a few weeks.”
“We are bringing aircraft construction back to Augsburg, creating a place of high technology and jobs by building drones and creating a whole new market segment for air taxis”, highlights Henning, who has assumed the position of General Manager of AutoFlight Europe this month. Before, throughout his long career of 26 years in the sector, he had passed through DASA, EDAS or Eurocopter. In the Airbus helicopter division, he held the position of Government Business Manager and also served as EC135 product manager.
The landing of AutoFligth in Germany comes after, in 2021, it received uan injection of one hundred million dollars of the European technology holding company Team Global, based in Berlin. Its founder and CEO, Lukasz Gadowski, is, in fact, a member of the AutoFlight board of directors.
Cover Image | AutoFlight