Samad Aerospace announced it has completed initial hover testing of its second half-scale eStarling prototype.
On July 14, Samad Aerospace CEO Dr. Seyed Mohseni shared video on his personal Twitter account of the eVTOL aircraft performing tethered hover tests while suspended beneath a crane. A week later, on July 22, he shared video of the aircraft in free hovering flight.
The U.K.-based company has shared additional footage on YouTube, although with a soundtrack obscuring the noise of the aircraft that is audible in the Twitter videos. According to Mohseni, the primary significance of these early flight tests is validation of the company’s autopilot technology, and “noise optimizations will be done for next prototypes.”
Samad Aerospace announced in December 2020 that it had successfully tested a half-scale eStarling demonstrator in airplane — or conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) — mode. At the time, the company’s chief technology officer, Norman Wijker, explained that “CTOL trials are an essential step towards VTOL aircraft development” and said that the program would progress to hover trials, followed by “transition between hovering flight and aerodynamic flight in both directions.”
In a July 26 press release announcing the completion of hover tests, Samad Aerospace said the trials “demonstrated a very agile and stable prototype with hovering and helicopter moves.” The aircraft reportedly hovered using 65% of its available power, leaving “a healthy power surplus for adverse weather conditions,” the company said.
Samad Aerospace is developing the eStarling as a hybrid-electric aircraft for intercity transport. With its semi blended wing body, the aircraft is targeting a range of 800 miles (1,290 kilometers) and a cruising speed of 300 mph (480 km/h). Samad is aiming for first deliveries in 2026.