Autoflight releases full-length eVTOL flight test video
Shanghai-based eVTOL company Autoflight has been ploughing through flight tests of late as it continues to develop its Prosperity I eVTOL air taxi. The company has now released a largely uncut 8-minute video showing an entire test flight, with sound.
We saw transition test video from Autoflight back in February, but the new video is pretty remarkable, in that it has no music or sound other than that captured on the aircraft itself, and it purports to show an entire test flight, start to finish, including takeoff, hover, a transition to forward flight, winged cruise with no vertical lift props spinning, some plane-line banking, ground speeds over 180 km/h (110 mph), then a gradual transition back onto the vertical lift props and a landing.
It's interesting to note that the Prosperity proof of concept rises straight up vertically, rather than gaining any forward speed as it rises. For safety's sake, it's best to get transitioning eVTOLs onto the wing as quickly as possible. Also, the transition back to vertical lift mode looks a little on the bumpy side, for whatever reason; it looks like it'll be fairly clear from the passenger seats when you're switching flight modes.
The quality of the sound from the vertical lift system is interesting, given that these things are designed to fit into an urban soundscape. It's a lower frequency than you might expect, almost sounding like a purr. Decibel readouts from a distance would be handy, such as the noise measurement figures Joby and NASA released not long ago.
This is the second proof of concept aircraft from Autoflight, which claims it's now testing an "upgraded lift & cruise configuration, optimized lifting propellers and enhanced hover and cruising efficiency." The company says this full-size, unmanned machine took around three months to build, and has already completed 30 such successful flight tests in recent weeks.
When complete, the Prosperity air taxi promises to take four passengers up to 250 km (155 miles) at a cruising speed of 200 km/h (124 mph). Autoflight expects to put it in service by 2026, aiming to certify it both with local Chinese authorities and Europe's EASA.
Check out the flight test video below.