The urban air mobility (UAM) sector is still in its early phases. However, we can see some significant growth as several companies are hard at work with turning flying taxis into a reality. One of them is the German-based Volocopter, which is getting closer to bringing electric flights to cities around the world with the help of its electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.
Volocopter has been around since 2011. It started gaining popularity in the same year when it successfully conducted the first flight of an electric multicopter. Over time, the company performed more than 1,000 test flights and matured its aircraft into the two-seater eVTOL that we see today.
Called Volocopter 2X, the prototype performed its first public flight in 2021, during an air show in Paris, France. At the time, the aircraft took to the skies crewless. It climbed to a 30-meter (98-ft) altitude and reached a 30 kph (19 mph) speed. Now, Volopter is back in Paris, and it’s ready to show the world that it’s getting closer to launching its UAM services in France.
The recent test flights were conducted with a crew on board, and they are part of a week-long UAM test campaign. During this campaign, Volocopter will gather data, including information about the noise levels produced by the 2X full-scale prototype.
The information will be used by the company to better prepare to launch its air taxi services in time for the 2024 Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games. The successful flights took place at the Pontoise airfield, which is located 35 km (22 miles) northwest of Paris.
“We have demonstrated our pioneering power once again here in Paris. By flying our aircraft in a crewed configuration at a Paris airport, we are proving to one of our launch cities firsthand that our aircraft will offer a practical addition for potential airport-to-city routes,” said Christian Bauer, Chief Commercial Officer of Volocopter.
According to Volocopter, the company is planning a commercial launch in the next two to three years. It already has European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification to design and manufacture aircraft in-house, and it is seeking Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval to enter the U.S. market as well.