Belfast Telegraph

Watch: Flight footage of new air taxi from Northern Ireland man's firm

Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

The Northern Ireland man behind energy company OVO has unveiled flight footage of his new air taxi model as well as announcing the takeover of a Formula 1 engineering firm.

Stephen Fitzpatrick, the former owner of Formula 1 team Manor Racing, is behind the Vertical Aerospace eVTOL. 

The project is targeting piloted, intercity flights, competing with short-haul air travel as well as trains.

Mr Fitzpatrick is from Belfast and a former pupil of Our Lady and St Patrick’s College. He set up OVO as a challenger energy supplier in 2009.

Vertical Aerospace is the first company to reveal flight footage of an air taxi capable of carrying 250kg, the equivalent of a pilot and two passengers.

It is now working with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency to achieve certification for commercial flights, initially focused on intercity air taxi services.

Mr Fitzpatrick founded Vertical Aerospace in 2016 to make air travel “personal, on-demand and carbon free”.

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The Vertical Aerospace eVTOL air taxi

It now employs over 70 engineers and technical experts recruited from Airbus, Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Jaguar Land Rover and Formula 1.

Mr Fitzpatrick said: “Today is another major milestone on the path towards carbon free flight. Air travel is one of the worst contributors to climate change, and among the slowest sectors to decarbonise. Our mission at Vertical Aerospace is to make personal, on demand and carbon free flight a reality.”

Vertical has also announced the acquisition of Formula 1 engineering consultancy MGI. Led by motorsport veteran Mike Gascoyne, it will now be known as Vertical Advanced Engineering. Mr Gascoyne’s team has built vehicles for teams including Williams, McLaren and Benetton. Now the team is to apply the latest technologies from F1 to the development of eVTOL aircraft.

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