More than 110 indus­try pro­fes­sion­als joined eVTOL Insights for its Lon­don con­fer­ence last Wednes­day (April 19th), to hear the lat­est devel­op­ments across the glob­al Advanced Air Mobil­i­ty mar­ket.

Held at the Leonar­do Roy­al Tow­er Bridge — 15 min­utes away from the Tow­er of Lon­don — a packed agen­da includ­ed fire­side chats, pan­el dis­cus­sions and keynote pre­sen­ta­tions on top­ics such as finance and invest­ment, pub­lic accep­tance, city inte­gra­tion, brand design, elec­tric propul­sion, pilot train­ing and var­i­ous OEM updates.

For those who were unable to attend this event, videos and a full gallery of pic­tures will be avail­able on our web­site very soon.

Here are a selec­tion of high­lights from the day:

The day kicked off with a fas­ci­nat­ing talk with Stephen Fitz­patrick, Founder and CEO of Ver­ti­cal Aero­space, who spoke more about the work his com­pa­ny is doing towards cer­ti­fy­ing its eVTOL air­craft. Atten­dees got a real insight into what it takes to launch a com­pa­ny, the lessons learnt along the way and why the UK can be a piv­otal mar­ket for the indus­try.

We also learnt how Stephen was inspired to cre­ate Ver­ti­cal Aero­space after being grid­locked in Sao Paulo traf­fic when trav­el­ling to the Brazil­ian Grand Prix back in 2015. After see­ing every­one else fly­ing to the event by heli­copter, he want­ed to reduce the time it takes to trav­el to des­ti­na­tions.

One of the inter­est­ing high­lights from the pre­sen­ta­tion of Pamir Sevin­cel, CEO of Sevin­cel Con­sult­ing, enti­tled ‘Star­tups, VC & AAM: Strat­e­gy for Suc­cess in the Bear Mar­ket’, was that 50 per cent of star­tups set over the over the last four years will go bank­rupt by the end of this year.

There was also a real­ly inter­est­ing talk by Dr. Chris Har­ris, CEO of Evoli­to, who expand­ed more on the key learn­ings from the auto­mo­tive indus­try and how these would accel­er­ate the ‘Elec­tri­ca­tion of Aero­space’.

On the top­ic of invest­ment, Mariya Tara­banovs­ka, Founder at Flight Crowd, shared that more than $16 bil­lion has already been placed in the eVTOL indus­try since 2021. Many peo­ple pre­dict this fig­ure will like­ly increase in the com­ing years.

Our first pan­el dis­cus­sion of the day was talk­ing about the ‘pas­sen­ger expe­ri­ence’, with Arthur Gilmore, Pres­i­dent and CEO of the Gilmore Group, Kolin Schunck of Lufthansa Inno­va­tion Hub and Fred­er­ic Aguet­tant, Founder at Heli­pass. The trio start­ed off by talk­ing about the eco­nom­ics, and how do oper­a­tors cal­cu­late the ini­tial oper­at­ing costs so they can ensure ear­ly prof­itabil­i­ty.

Kolin talks about the Has­sle Effect, or the steps between a jour­ney that a cus­tomer might take. If a pas­sen­ger encoun­ters delays get­ting to a ver­ti­port, would they then opt for anoth­er method of trans­porta­tion? Fred­er­ic talks about dig­i­tal soft­ware book­ing, and how the trans­for­ma­tion is very slow, with very few heli­copter oper­a­tors hav­ing a plat­form for this. He also men­tions that the eVTOL OEMs are going to be pro­vid­ing a ser­vice and not avi­a­tion.

Arthur then gives an inter­est­ing insight about the brand­ing side, say­ing that we’re design­ing an air­craft not to fly, but to fly peo­ple. He goes into more detail about some detailed stud­ies Gilmore Group con­duct­ed when it comes to tol­er­ance, com­fort and what is believed by safe­ty. The speak­ers then all dis­cuss the idea of build­ing trust to the end user, with a notable men­tion about acces­si­bil­i­ty.

After lunch, Mike Gas­coyne pro­vid­ed an incred­i­ble insight into his career with­in For­mu­la One and how he set up his com­pa­ny, MGI Engi­neer­ing. The firm coin­cid­ed eVTOL Insights’ Lon­don Con­fer­ence to offi­cial­ly launch its car­go UAV tech­nol­o­gy demon­stra­tor pro­gramme.

MGI is apply­ing For­mu­la 1 devel­op­ment philoso­phies and mind­set to the car­go eVTOL UAV mar­ket. Mike pre­vi­ous­ly worked at McLaren, Tyrrell, Sauber, Renault and Toy­ota, before set­ting up the Lotus F1 Team through MGI in 2009.

MGI Engi­neer­ing has been devel­op­ing car­go eVTOL tech­nolo­gies for the past year, with the aim of pro­vid­ing these ser­vices to the wider indus­try.

Of the many eVTOL talks, which includ­ed Bhavesh Man­dali­a’s excel­lent overview of the path­way towards dual cer­ti­fi­ca­tion,  Archer CEO Adam Gold­stein and Aut­oFlight’s Mark Hen­ning both agreed it is not about the eVTOL dura­tion in the air, but its spe­cif­ic pur­pose of 20-minute flights over crowd­ed cities from point A to B and back. We also heard from Greg Bowles, Joby Avi­a­tion’s Glob­al Head of Pol­i­cy and Reg­u­la­to­ry Affairs, who said the com­pa­ny is now fly­ing a max­i­mum of four times a day if the weath­er is clear; a clear indi­ca­tion of its con­tin­ued progress with its air­craft.

Oth­er key high­lights from the after­noon’s ses­sion include Clem New­ton-Brown from Sky­portz, whose com­pa­ny has iden­ti­fied at least 400 poten­tial ver­ti­port sites in Aus­tralia. Fresh from host­ing Indi­a’s inau­gur­al AAM event, Dar­rell Swan­son and Jarek Zych of EA Maven shared more about its Region­al Air Mobil­i­ty Index. It includ­ed the fas­ci­nat­ing idea that the coun­try — which could soon be the most pop­u­lous in the world — might save 1.3 mil­lion years of pro­duc­tiv­i­ty if eVTOL air­craft launched.

The final dis­cus­sion of the day saw Kirsten Riense­ma, Advanced Air Mobil­i­ty Lead at the UK CAA, Lirio Liu, Exec­u­tive Direc­tior of Air­craft Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion at the FAA and Trevor Woods, Reg­u­la­to­ry Direc­tor at Ver­ti­cal Aero­space, talk about a key top­ic — cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

Kirsten and Lirio pro­vid­ed a real high lev­el updates on what each author­i­ty is doing when it comes to cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and past work­forces with EASA. The pair dis­cussed how reg­u­la­tors can become more har­monised, so they can all work togeth­er, while Trevor talked about the sig­nif­i­cance of tim­ing and how the need for col­lab­o­ra­tion and trans­paren­cy at this cru­cial peri­od.

He also goes in more detail about the sig­nif­i­cance of Ver­ti­cal’s Design Organ­i­sa­tion Approval (DOA) with the UK CAA, and with more than 1,400 pre-orders from cus­tomers across the world, the work that goes into val­i­dat­ing an air­craft with many reg­u­la­tors.

Our next event will be in Sin­ga­pore at the Mari­na Bay Sands from July 4th to 5th. Tick­ets are on sale and you can find more infor­ma­tion here. As we sold out our Lon­don event, we antic­i­pate Sin­ga­pore will be anoth­er packed room!