Chinese-based AutoFlight is ramping up its certification program this year with the aim to reach type certification and begin passenger services with its Prosperity I eVTOL air taxi by 2025.
The eVTOL startup announced today that it has established a research and development and certification center at the Augsburg Airport in Germany, led by former Airbus Helicopters manager Mark Henning.
In an effort to achieve certification with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) by 2025, AutoFlight also plans to create additional locations for test and demonstration flights across Europe. The news comes after AutoFlight secured US$100 million last year from Berlin tech holding company Team Global to expand globally and scale its air taxi production.
“We are bringing aircraft construction back to Augsburg, creating a high-tech location and jobs as we build drones and create a completely new market segment for air taxis,” Henning said in a press release. “What I really like about AutoFlight and Prosperity I is the underlying simple concept. Simplicity translates into safety and efficiency.”
The aeronautical engineer brings 26 years of aviation experience to his new role as managing director at AutoFlight Europe, previously serving as the senior program manager for governmental business at Airbus Helicopters.
Headquartered in Shanghai, China, AutoFlight also has a flight control system research center in Germany, as well as a composite material manufacturing plant in Jining/Shandong province.
AutoFlight had initially focused on developing autonomous aerial vehicles for large payload logistics, later adding autonomous passenger aerial vehicles to its product line.
A company representative previously told eVTOL.com that its V1500M autonomous passenger eVTOL completed its first test flight last fall in Shanghai, China. The company said it has now completed more than 10,000 take-offs and landings with its various models, while testing its aircraft in extreme weather conditions.
The Prosperity I aircraft is AutoFlight’s first piloted air taxi. It is a lift-plus-cruise aircraft that’s targeting a range of about 250 kilometers (155 miles) and a maximum take-off weight of 1,500 kilograms (3,305 pounds), with three passengers and a pilot onboard. AutoFlight said it plans to reveal the progress it has made in transition tests in the next few weeks.