November 2, 2023
A German eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) vehicle was flown in a demonstration at Tampa International Airport (TPA) in Florida today.
The VoloCity air taxi from Volocopter was rolled out in front of a crowd of about 300 media and invited guests at Sheltair Aviation at TPA.
A pilot in the two-seater vehicle with 18 rotors took off straight up, cruised around the airfield and even made a nose-down nod to the crowd before landing to applause from airport personnel.
The air taxi at TPA is one of several Volocopter prototypes. The vehicle last appeared in Las Vegas and Dallas and then was crated and shipped to Tampa. This vehicle has flown hundreds of miles and is expected to be crated and shipped to a northeast city after its stay in Florida.
The VoloCity also spent time at Tampa airport testing with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on days ahead of today’s flight.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch both spoke about the air taxi as a new transportation link between Tampa and St. Petersburg. The plan would be for the air taxis to fly regularly between the two cities, separated by a large bay, though connected by several long bridges.
“Urban air mobility (UAM) is a great part of the future of transportation,” said Castro.
The battery-powered electric air vehicle (EAV) is expected to travel at speeds up to 68 mph with a takeoff capacity of 2,000 pounds.
“It will go above all traffic and take you where you need to go within the city,” said TPA CEO Joe Lopano. “You don’t have to go to another city, you can go within your own city. “It’s designed to be accessible to everyone.
As in typical eVTOLs, the Volocopter air taxi has redundant systems.
“It’s all about safety,” said Volocopter CEO Dirk Hoke. “You want to have it sustainable, with no emissions, you want to have a very quiet flight and it has to be safe. We will certify against the same standards as commercial aircraft.
“We will be certified by EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) in Europe next year.”
The final production model is expected to be slightly larger than the prototype but still be a two-person vehicle.
The Tampa event drew a large media gathering and Hoke and Lopano hosted a press gaggle on the tarmac in front of the air taxi.
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