Tampa International Airport (TPA) in partnership with Volocopter, a developer of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, have successfully initiated a comprehensive flight test campaign.
The flight-testing regimen involves a crewed Volocopter 2X eVTOL aircraft.
This marks the first-ever flight test of an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft in an operational and large international airport in the U.S., and the first eVTOL test in the state of Florida.
A Tampa First
Tampa International Airport is recognized as the #1 Large Airport in J.D. Power’s North America Airport Satisfaction Study.
In collaboration with Volocopter, they have achieved a historic first – the inaugural flight test of an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft in an operational and large international airport in the United States.
This occasion also marks the first eVTOL test in the state of Florida, underlining the airport’s pioneering spirit.
Testing Beyond Limits
The flight test campaign was a meticulously planned endeavor that encompassed various essential aspects of eVTOL technology. It included rigorous aircraft downwash and outwash testing in collaboration with the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority (FAA).
These tests were crucial to ensure the safety and efficiency of eVTOL operations in an airport environment.
Additionally, aircraft performance testing under local environmental conditions was conducted to validate the adaptability of eVTOLs to real-world scenarios.
The event saw the presence of several notaries. Notable attendees included Jared Purdue, Secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation, Jane Castor, the Mayor of Tampa, and congressional leaders who are actively advocating for the growth of the urban air mobility (UAM) industry.
Their presence at the event signifies the widespread support for regulatory advancements and the acceleration of public acceptance of eVTOLs in the United States.
Urban Air Mobility
Urban Air Mobility (UAM) is at the forefront of transportation innovation, with electric propulsion aircraft emerging as a primary focus. These aircraft offer operational ease and address noise concerns, making them ideal for urban environments.
Volocopter, in particular, stands out with its commitment to quiet, safe, and sustainable eVTOL operations.
The successful integration of certified eVTOLs into urban transportation promises not only efficient travel but also a significant step towards decarbonizing the aviation industry.
Volocopter’s dedication to expanding its operations is evident through its recent partnership with the Bristow Group.
This collaboration aims to introduce eVTOLs to various regions, and Florida is among the targeted areas for deployment.
Since 2018, Volocopter has conducted successful test flights in several key locations, including Las Vegas, Oshkosh, the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and now Tampa.
These visible flight test campaigns play a vital role in garnering support from communities and stakeholders, laying the foundation for a robust UAM ecosystem.
Joe Lopano, CEO of Tampa International Airport, expressed his enthusiasm for embracing innovation and envisioning a future with urban air mobility as an integral part of the airport’s Master Plan.
He stated, “This technology has the potential to transform the aviation and transportation industry, and we’re excited to partner with Volocopter as we introduce and visualize the amazing possibilities that lie ahead.”
Dirk Hoke, CEO of Volocopter, emphasized the significance of flying at a large, active airport and the successful demonstration of their aircraft’s safety, quietness, and efficiency.
He declared, “Volocopter sees this as the starting point of the entry into service in the U.S., and we will come back to show our continued progress.”
“We thank all attending guests for the support given to make this first-ever eVTOL flight in Florida a success.”
Certification and Collaboration
Volocopter’s journey toward the commercialization of its eVTOL aircraft, the VoloCity, is on a promising trajectory.
They anticipate receiving the final certification from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in 2024.
Simultaneously, they are actively engaged in the validation process with the FAA, a step they initiated in 2020. This collaborative effort with regulatory authorities underscores Volocopter’s commitment to bringing urban air mobility closer to reality.
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