International aeronautics company Airbus’ latest innovation has officially taken off after it successfully completed a fruitful first test flight.
Vahana, the all-electric, self-piloted, vertical take-off and landing aircraft, built by Airbus’ innovation outpost in Silicon Valley, managed to stay aloft for 53 seconds during its test flight in Oregon last week.
Airbus’ Alpha One, which was constructed as part of project Vahana, reached a height of five meters (16 feet) before descending safely. Its first flight was fully self-piloted and the vehicle completed a second flight the following day.
Project Vahana started in early 2016 as one of the first projects at A³ (pronounced “A-cubed”), the advanced projects and partnerships outpost of Airbus Group in Silicon Valley.
A spokesperson for the company said: “Our aim has long been to design and build a single passenger electric VTOL self-piloted aircraft that will answer the growing need for urban mobility. Our goal is to democratise personal flight by leveraging the latest technologies such as electric propulsion, energy storage, and machine vision. Our first flights mark a huge milestone for Vahana as well as the global pursuit of urban air mobility.”
Following the completion of this successful test, the Vahana team will continue development and perform further flight tests to transition and forward flight. The team has also identified a new partner for its motors, MAGicALL. The California-based company designs and manufactures custom, cutting-edge components (motors, generators, inductors, transformers, etc.) with rapid and affordable delivery schedules.