LONDON – Aeroporti di Roma (ADR), Atlantia, UrbanV, and urban air mobility (UAM) manufacturer, Volocopter, have successfully completed the first crewed eVTOL test flights in Italian airspace. These tests were part of a mobility ecosystem setup at Fiumicino’s Leonardo da Vinci International Airport.
The latest operation represents a key milestone toward the envisioned rollout of advanced air mobility (AAM) services in Rome by 2024, with the partners having effectively inaugurated the first fully functional vertiport in Italy.
Aeroporti di Roma, Volocopter, UrbanV, and Atlantia conducted the first crewed eVTOL public test flight in Italy this on Thursday morning October 6. The test comes one year after the first eVTOL prototype was showcased in Italy.
In the last twelve months, significant progress has been made on flight technology, vertiport design, and the regulations necessary to enable the first AAM services between Fiumicino Airport and the city of Rome planned to take to the skies by 2024.
The Volocopter manned test
Volocopter’s test pilot aboard the electric Volocopter 2X flew 40 km/h for 5 minutes at 40 metres height along a “figure 8” flight path in front of onlookers.
All the necessary clearances had been attained from the Italian authorities, the civil aviation authority (Ente Nazionale per l’Aviazione Civile – ENAC), and the provider of air traffic control services (Ente Nazionale Assistenza al Volo – ENAV).
Volocopter’s electric air taxi is designed for quick and emission-free passenger flights in urban environments over congested roads and waterways, reflecting Atlantia’s and Aeroporti di Roma’s plan to play a pioneering role in making the future of aviation increasingly innovative and sustainable.
The vertiport is developed in compliance with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) “Prototype Technical Specifications for the Design of VFR Vertiports for Operation with Manned VTOL-Capable Aircraft Certified in the Enhanced Category.”
It is designed to host various types of tests for both flight and ground operations (turnaround, battery charging, etc.), with an electric system devised to allow testing of various eVTOL charging technologies (battery swaps, fast charging, etc.).
The infrastructure, occupying an area of about 5,500 square meters, has been sized to ensure compatibility with the main eVTOLs that will be certified in the coming years.
The Vertiport consists of: a final approach and takeoff area (FATO) for landing and takeoff operations; a parking area; a covered hangar measuring 20 x 20 x 6 meters; various rooms, including an office, a warehouse, and an area for battery charging.
Marco Troncone— CEO of Aeroporti di Roma said: “Today’s event represents a significant milestone in our path as pioneers in testing and implementing Advanced Air Mobility in Italy, and in playing our part in making urban transports increasingly sustainable and seamless.”
“The opening of the first vertiport in Italy and the first crewed eVTOL flight represent a remarkable step towards the activation of the first AAM routes between Fiumicino airport and Rome city centre by the end of 2024.”
Christian Bauer— Volocopter’s Chief Commercial Officer and Interim Chief Financial Officer added: “We’ve come from a signed partnership agreement and event series kick-off to a flight test at an operational airport in a little less than a year.”
“With that, we are bringing together all the key stakeholders and regulators to witness this mobility service and technology with their own eyes.”