Vertical Aerospace receives Design Approval from UK CAA

Render of a Vertical Aerospace VX4 eVTOL aircraft in flight above cloud.
Image Credit: Vertical Aerospace

Aerospace technology company Vertical Aerospace has gained UK CAA certification for its VX4 eVTOL aircraft.

The company has secured the first ever Design Organisation Approval (DOA) issued to an eVTOL manufacturer by the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

Design Organisation Approval

UK and European aerospace companies cannot hold a Type Certificate without being granted a DOA. The DOA now authorises Vertical to conduct design activities and issue design approvals within the DOA’s scope of approval.

As an approved Design Organisation, Vertical will now further progress its design and certification programme of the VX4 aircraft. This is expected to streamline the steps towards the next step of obtaining Type Certification.

The process for achieving DOA involved a rigorous assessment of Vertical’s procedures, its quality management system, the competence of its technical workforce, and the necessary facilities and equipment to support the design activities to certify the VX4 aircraft.

Certification progress

Earlier this month, the CAA announced its intention to adopt European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) Means of Compliance to SC-VTOL, the standards against which European and now UK manufacturers will design eVTOLs.

This positions the UK, alongside Europe, as a market with a clear regulatory framework for the design and manufacture of these novel electric aircraft.


Japanese validation and orders

in addition to the UK approval, Vertical has also formally commenced its certification efforts in Japan, following the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau’s (JCAB) acceptance of the VX4’s validation programme.

Successful validation of the VX4’s Type Certificate will allow the aircraft to be operated in this key market.

Vertical is well-positioned in Japan, having partnered with Japan Airlines (JAL), through the placement of up to 100 VX4 pre-orders with Avolon, as well as with Marubeni Corporation for up to 200 VX4 pre-orders.

In January 2023, Marubeni made a pre-delivery payment to Vertical for the reservation of its first 25 VX4 aircraft delivery slots out of the 200 VX4 conditional pre-orders.

In March 2023, it was announced that Marubeni would be one of the operators of the Advanced Air Mobility showcase for the 2025 Osaka World Expo to fly with Vertical’s VX4.

JCAB formally becomes the fourth aviation regulator Vertical Aerospace is working closely with, including the CAA on Type Certification and concurrent validation with EASA and the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA).

Stephen Fitzpatrick, Vertical’s Founder and CEO, said “I am immensely proud that Vertical Aerospace 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.”

Paul Harper, Vertical’s Head of Certification, said “Receiving a DOA from the CAA is a huge testament to our team and the hard work we are doing to ensure safety is at the core of the VX4.”

“It represents a significant milestone on our journey to Type Certification and we would like to thank the CAA for their guidance and continued support.”

Garry Lathey, Design and Certification Manager at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “We are committed to enabling innovators such as Vertical take their ideas to market in a safe, secure and sustainable way.”

“The granting of Design Organisation Approval to Vertical is an essential step on their journey bringing an eVTOL aircraft into service.”

By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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