Shanghai Autoflight Co. Ltd.
BAN's World GazetteerChina
Shanghai-headquartered AAV startup AutoFlight is continuing its global expansion with the establishment of its first location in Europe; a team led by former Airbus manager Mark R Henning is now ramping up at Augsburg airport in Germany. The team's first task is to achieve EASA certification for AutoFlight's Prosperity I air taxi, an eVTOL aircraft with a range of approximately 250 kilometres that can seat up to three passengers in addition to the pilot. The certification programme will begin this year, with completion expected by 2025.
A dedicated and growing team will work at the R&D and certification centre in Augsburg. AutoFlight plans to establish additional locations for test and demonstration flights across Europe. Prosperity I is the company's first manned aircraft. Previously, the company's focus was on unmanned cargo drones.
“I am delighted to share that Mark Henning is joining AutoFlight in Europe to build our Prosperity I air taxi according to EASA safety standards,” says founder, chairman and CEO Tian Yu.
Safety is and always will be AutoFlight's top commitment. The eVTOL pioneer is dedicated to making its Prosperity I air taxi as safe as a commercial airliner and will work closely with European authorities.
In January 2022, Henning took on the position as managing director at AutoFlight Europe, based in Augsburg, Germany. The aeronautical engineer and graduate of Munich's Technical University has worked in the aviation industry for 26 years. He started his career at DASA and has held leadership positions at EADS and Eurocopter. Previously, he was manager for governmental business at the helicopter division of Airbus and head of product EC135. He has also held positions in programme management, strategy, production and development and has worked for the Airbus Group in Indonesia, South Korea, Israel, South Africa and the United States.
Henning says: "We are bringing aircraft construction back to Augsburg, creating a high tech location and jobs as we build drones and create a completely new market segment for air taxis. What I really like about AutoFlight and the Prosperity I is the underlying simple concept. Simplicity translates into safety and efficiency.”
The simplicity of AutoFlight's design is the so called 'lift and cruise' configuration. It combines superior range and safety with low technical complexity, making it affordable.
AutoFlight is one of the earliest tech companies in China to make autonomous eVTOL aircraft, including large payload logistics and autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Logistics UAVs were introduced first. AutoFlight completed more than 10,000 take offs and landings in adverse weather conditions. The company is now ready to build its Prosperity I people carrier and will show the progress made in its transition tests in a few weeks' time.