Solvay will develop the composite structure of Vertical Aerospace’s VA-1X eVTOL aircraft as part of a new partnership. Together, both companies will now work on developing the first flying prototype ahead of flight testing in September.
Unveiled last year, the VA-1X will be able to carry four passengers and a pilot, travelling at cruise speeds of 150mph for a range of 100 miles. It is on course to achieve certification by 2024, with commercial flights to begin shortly after.
As part of the agreement, Vertical Aerospace will be able to access Solvay’s extensive composite and adhesive qualified product portfolio and specialised technical and application support, both at Solvay’s European Application Centers and at its own head office in Bristol, UK.
Carmelo Lo Faro, President of Solvay Composite Materials Global Business Unit, said: “Solvay is proud to partner with Vertical Aerospace, a pioneer in sustainable aviation technologies, whose VA-1X aircraft is set to revolutionise the way we travel.
“By providing the performance required to operate safely and maximize range, while facilitating the processes needed for mass production, our advanced materials will be key enablers to the mass-adoption of eVTOLs.”
Vertical Aerospace is already a global pioneer in sustainable aviation technologies, as one of only a handful of companies to have flown two full-scale eVTOL aircraft prototypes with UK Civil Aviation Authority approval.
Using distributed propulsion and large open rotors that have significantly lower tip speeds than on a helicopter, Vertical Aerospace says the VA-1X can achieve noise levels 30 times quieter than an equivalent helicopter.
The company added that passengers taking a flight from Brighton to London could arrive in just 30 minutes – as opposed to two hours by car or an hour by train.
Michael Cervenka, CEO of Vertical Aerospace, said: “We are incredibly excited to be working hand in hand with Solvay, co-innovating to develop a lightweight, advanced and sustainable eVTOL thanks to their portfolio of advanced materials.”