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Vahana, the self-piloted electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft from A³ by Airbus, successfully completed its first full-scale test flight on Jan. 31 in Pendleton, Oregon.
The aircraft, given the name Alpha One, reached a height of 16 feet (five meters) during its fully self-piloted flight, and remained in the air for 53 seconds before descending safely. The eVTOL vehicle completed a second flight the following day on Feb. 1.
“Our first flights mark a huge milestone for Vahana as well as the global pursuit of urban air mobility,” said Zach Lovering, Vahana Project executive, in a blog post published on Feb. 1. “After two years of planning and building, we are thrilled to see our efforts culminate in successful flight.”
The Vahana team is now prepared to move forward with development of the aircraft and perform more flight tests to transition and forward flight.
A³ has partnered with California-based MAGicALL, a manufacturer of custom components, for the motors that will be used in Vahana.
“Vahana’s first flight demonstrates Airbus’ unique ability to pursue ambitious ideas quickly, without compromising the quality and safety for which the company is well-known,” said Rodin Lyasoff, A³ CEO and former project executive of Vahana. “For A³, it proves that we can deliver meaningful innovation with aggressive project timetables, to provide a real competitive advantage for Airbus.”
In attendance of the first flight were the full Vahana team, representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and A³ leadership who all came together to observe the “historic” accomplishment, Lovering said.
“We’re excited to continue with this project and look ahead to celebrating future milestones together.”