The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has agreed to concurrently validate the UK CAA’s certification of Vertical Aerospace’s VX4 eVTOL aircraft.
In this concurrent validation, the VX4 will be certificated by the UK CAA against their stringent safety standards and in compliance with the similar and equally stringent standards developed by EASA. Certification and validation processes will run simultaneously in both regulatory jurisdictions, paving the way for the VX4 to be operational in both the UK and Europe by 2025.
At the same time as this latest announcement by Vertical Aerospace, the company has also welcomed former EASA Certification Director, Trevor Woods, who has joined as Director – Regulatory Affairs to help lead the regulatory engagement.
Commenting on his appointment, he said: “I am delighted to join Vertical, the eVTOL manufacturer that, I believe, has the edge on its competitors. Its considerable in-house engineering expertise matched with its unrivalled industrial partnerships from proven tier-one aerospace suppliers such as Rolls-Royce, Honeywell, GKN and Leonardo lend significant momentum to its certification efforts. I, myself, am looking forward to flying in the VX4 at the earliest opportunity.”
Concurrent EASA/CAA validation
Vertical believes this activity with both the CAA and EASA will also support swift validation of the VX4 by other international regulators, who respect the stringent safety standards imposed by the UK and European regulators.
Vertical is seeking to conduct similar certification validation efforts with other national aviation authorities where its customers operate, enabling the VX4 to be flown in these jurisdictions. The company has already run project familiarisation workshops with regulators in key territories including Japan, Brazil and Singapore and will also seek validation by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), enabling entry into service with US operators.
Vertical’s certification programme is progressing rapidly as it targets entry into service in 2025. It has submitted its certification basis proposal, based on EASA’s established SC-VTOL certification basis, and expects to have this agreed with the CAA later this year.
The company has also received notice that its three key nominated managers (Form 4 Holders) have been accepted by the regulator as competent to hold the roles. These approved managers are necessary for Vertical to be granted Design Organisation Approval (DOA).
DOA (equivalent to the FAA’s Organisation Designation Authorisation or ODA) is the approval from the regulator that an aerospace company is certified as being competent and responsible to hold a Type Certificate. Vertical’s DOA, when granted, will cover the full scope required to hold a Type Certificate for a commercial passenger carrying winged eVTOL.
Vertical believes this will be of the widest scope an eVTOL manufacturer will have received to date, and expects to receive DOA from the UK regulator later this year. This will be the first formal recognition from the CAA confirming Vertical’s competency as a VTOL design organisation and eventually as a Type Certificate holder.
Vertical’s key accountable managers are Eric Samson, Head of Engineering; Paul Harper, Head of Certification and Paul Cotton, Head of Independent Systems Monitoring.
Harper added: “To have someone with Trevor’s experience join the team is a boost for us and our certification efforts. We are pleased with the status of our certification programme and look forward to reaching a number of meaningful milestones in our activity over the coming months, including the launch of our test flight campaign.”