Vertical Aerospace has finished building the first full-scale prototype of its VX4 eVTOL and will begin flight testing the aircraft this summer, the company confirmed while announcing financial results for the first half of 2022 this week.
“I am delighted to share that we have reached a critical engineering milestone by completing the build of our full-scale VX4 prototype, and we have now begun putting it through its paces for an intensive, multi-month flight test program,” Vertical founder and CEO Stephen Fitzpatrick wrote in a letter to the company’s shareholders. Fitzpatrick added that Vertical now has a pre-order backlog exceeding 1,400 units of the VX4.
During the first half of 2022, the UK-based eVTOL manufacturer reported a net operating loss of £39 million ($47 million), up from the £22 million it spent in the first half of 2021. Vertical says it invested that money in the manufacturing of the full-scale VX4 prototype, as well as testing and certification activities.
To secure some additional funding, Vertical established has established an equity subscription line with new investor Nomura Securities, a Japanese financial holding company. The credit facility, arranged in early August, will allow Vertical to issue up to $100 million in new ordinary shares.
As of June 30, 2022, Vertical had cash and cash equivalents amounting to £158 million, which the company says should be enough to get through the next 12 months of expenditures. Vertical said it expects to spend between £40 million and £50 million in the second half of 2022.
Vertical’s VX4 is a fully electric eVTOL made to carry four passengers and one pilot across distances of more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) on a single charge, while traveling at a top speed of 202 mph (325 km/h). The design features a fixed-wing aircraft with tilting rotors, which the company says will be 100 times quieter in flight than a helicopter.
The company is working on concurrently certifying the VX4 with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Vertical has said that it expects to achieve type certification in 2024, with the first deliveries to follow in 2025. Its customers include American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, FlyingGroup, and Avalon.