Autonomous electric VTOL aircraft makes first test flight

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Electric autonomous Vahana aircraft from Airbus makes test flight
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The Vahana aircraft with electric power and self-flight capabilities has had its first successful test flight at UAV range in Oregon.

Vahana, the all electric, self-piloted, VTOL (Vertical Take Off & Landing) aircraft from A³ by Airbus has successfully completed its first full-scale flight test, reaching a height of 5 meters (16 feet) before descending safely. The test was completed at the Pendleton UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) Range in Pendleton, Oregon. Its first flight, with a duration of 53 seconds, was fully self-piloted and the vehicle completed a second flight the following day.

“Today we are celebrating a great accomplishment in aerospace innovation,” said Zach Lovering, Project Executive of Vahana. “In just under two years, Vahana took a concept sketch on a napkin and built a full-scale, self-piloted aircraft that has successfully completed its first flight. Our team is grateful for the support we’ve received from A³ and the extended Airbus family, as well as our partners including MTSI and the Pendleton UAS Range.”

Vahana is a project developed at A³, the Silicon Valley outpost of Airbus. A³ enables access to unique talent and ideas, new partnership opportunities and execution at speed. Vahana aims to democratise personal flight and answer the growing need for urban mobility by making use of the latest technology in electric propulsion, energy storage and machine vision.

“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. For A³, it proves that we can deliver meaningful innovation with aggressive project timetables, to provide a real competitive advantage for Airbus,” said Rodin Lyasoff, A³ CEO and former Project Executive of Vahana. “Our focus now is on celebrating the work of the tireless Vahana team while maintaining the momentum of this accomplishment.”

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