There is a plethora of Urban Air Mobility-related news flowing from the pantheon trade stands of Farnborough this week and Vertical Aerospace is no exception. To support the company’s highly impressive full-size VX4 Aircraft on display, their news stories this week have been showered over the media like gold-plated confetti.
Here are two more examples released yesterday.
First-off, is the news that Mike Flewitt, a former CEO of McLaren Automotive, has joined Vertical’s Board of Directors. The press release says, “An experienced leader in the world of automotive innovation and manufacturing, Mike further strengthens Vertical’s leadership team which draws from industry experts in aviation, automotive and technology sectors. Mike will join the Board’s Audit and Certification Committees.”
It goes on, “Mike is joining the Vertical Board having stepped down from McLaren Automotive in October 2021 after eight years leading the group. He was instrumental in driving McLaren Automotive’s growth to become one of the world’s leading luxury supercar brands.”
And continues, “Prior to joining McLaren, Mike spent nine years at Ford as both Vice President, Manufacturing, Ford Europe, and Corporate Officer, Ford Motor Company. Before joining Ford, he held senior manufacturing and operations roles at TWR Group Limited, AutoNova AB (Volvo) and Rolls-Royce and Bentley Motor Cars Limited.”
Domhnal Slattery, Vertical Chairman, commented, “Mike’s experience across the automotive industry will be critical to the next phases of our journey, playing a key role in enabling the commercialisation of our revolutionary VX4 aircraft.”
Michael Flewitt, added, “Vertical is at the forefront of innovation in the aviation industry, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to work alongside the team in their efforts to grow, progress, and lead the change in zero emissions flight.”
Following this appointment, the Vertical Board now comprises: Dómhnal Slattery as Non-Executive Chairman; Independent Non-Executive Directors Kathy Cassidy, Gur Kimchi and Mike Flewitt; Non-Executive Director Marcus Waley-Cohen; and Executive Directors Stephen Fitzpatrick (Founder & CEO), Harry Holt (Deputy CEO), Vincent Casey (CFO) and Michael Cervenka (President).
Secondly, CAE, a market leader in flight simulation and training, has announced it will be the pilot training partner for Vertical’s launch eVTOL aircraft, the VX4.
CAE is to design and develop a training program to become “the exclusive training device provider, tailoring the high-fidelity, next-generation flight simulation training device for the VX4 aircraft.”
The press release states, “The innovative pilot training program will leverage advanced technologies including Mixed Reality and Artificial Intelligence to enhance the learning experience and will help shift the training paradigm toward cost-effectiveness and scalability, while ensuring safety is paramount for Vertical and its operators.”
Harry Holt, Nick Leontidis
Upon the agreement signing, Vertical and CAE will begin working together three years ahead of the VX4’s targeted entry into service in 2025.
The release continues, “Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) is expected to drive unprecedented demand for qualified, professionally trained pilots for inner-city and regional electric flights. Additionally, because CAE currently provides training products and services to many of Vertical’s industry-leading customer base, a smoother integration of new AAM pilot training programmes into their training portfolios is anticipated.”
Harry Holt, Deputy CEO of Vertical, commented, “Vertical has built its commercial ecosystem with customers, regulators, and infrastructure partners to enable AAM and ensure we have partnerships in place to introduce safer, cleaner and quieter mobility for everyone. Bringing CAE into our unrivalled ecosystem is a key enabler to solve the training requirement for our customers, as we prepare for the VX4’s entry into service.”
Nick Leontidis, CAE’s Group President of Civil Aviation, added, “CAE’s longstanding training relationships with top-tier airlines and operators is a key differentiator for us as they expand into eVTOL operations with Vertical. They know they can count on CAE for advanced training as they venture into this new market. We are excited to join Vertical’s ecosystem and work hand in hand to build the aviation workforce of the future.”
These latest announcements follow on from a series of Vertical breaking news stories including American Airlines confirming delivery slots and the commitment of associated pre-delivery payments; 50 conditional pre-orders from FLYINGGROUP, taking Vertical’s industry-leading pre-order book by value to more 1,400 VX4s amounting to approximately USD5.6 billion in expected revenue; in addition to partnerships with Babcock International for the exploration of applications of the VX4 within Emergency Medical Services (EMS); and a strategic partnership with Molicel as its battery provider.
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