Volocopter teamed up with Tampa International airport (TPA) to kick off a multilayered flight test campaign with the crewed Volocopter 2X. Onlookers witnessed the all-electric vehicle complete an eight minute flight, a major step in understanding how the technology might be used in the future.
"Tampa International Airport has always embraced innovation and futuristic planning, and we've already identified a potential site for urban air mobility as a part of our Master Plan," says airport CEO Joe Lopano. "This technology has the potential to transform the aviation and transportation industry, and we're excited to partner with Volocopter as we introduce and visualise the amazing possibilities that lie ahead."
TPA has formed a special committee to study eVTOL infrastructure in the Tampa Bay area, and how it might integrate with the current airspace system. The committee has been working with state, federal and industry leaders to better understand how eVTOLs might be used in the next five to 10 years, as well as FAA safety requirements and regulations.
Volocopter recently partnered with the Bristow Group to begin eVTOL operations in the near future, with Florida being one of the targeted areas of operation. Since 2018, Volocopter has flown in Las Vegas, Oshkosh and the Dallas-Fort Worth area, with Tampa being the first site in Florida as well as the first test flight at a major US airport. Continued and visible flight test campaigns in view of the public are crucial steps to building an efficient UAM ecosystem that receives the communities' support.
"Flying at a large, active airport always presents a multitude of challenges, but we proved that our aircraft is safe, quiet and efficiently useful in a city like Tampa," says Volocopter CEO Dirk Hoke. "Volocopter sees this as the starting point of the entry into service in the US 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."
Volocopter expects to receive a final certification of its commercial VoloCity aircraft from EASA in 2024. The company is also in the concurrent validation process with the FAA, submitted in 2020, and has been working with both authorities to bring urban air mobility to life.