German e-flight taxi developer Volocopter has conducted the first manned eVTOL flight in France. The flight was part of a week-long test series to evaluate noise emissions.
As part of this test series, Volocopter said it conducted not one but several manned test flights with the 2X. The noise tests at the Pontoise airfield in Paris were conducted with partners ADP and RATP in preparation for the market launch at the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris.
Volocopter says the data from the tests is expected to provide essential insights on the introduction and acceptance of future UAM services in and around Paris. UAM refers to a subcategory of advanced air mobility (AAM) and how advanced aircraft (ie, eVTOLs) can operate in and around cities.
Christian Bauer, CCO of Volocopter, said: “We have demonstrated our pioneering power once again here in Paris.” He explained that “By flying our aircraft in a crewed configuration at a Paris airport, we are proving to one of our launch cities firsthand that our aircraft will offer a practical addition for potential airport-to-city routes.”
The Pontoise airfield is no ordinary airport but a special UAM test field. The test field addresses the challenges of this new form of mobility by researching and implementing the use, acceptance, regulations, technologies and industrialization of UAM solutions. The partners say that the airfield, located about 35 kilometers northwest of Paris, provides “a realistic and safe environment for UAM testing”.
The company already completed manned flights in Singapore back in 2019. Here the pilot covered approximately—1.5 km at an average height of 40 meters. Most recently, in November last year, Volocopter took an order for electric aircraft for the planned city of Neom in Saudi Arabia where Volocopter partners have formed a joint venture to build an eVTOL mobility system. This will involve air taxi services and “vertical logistics services. The VoloDrone cargo drone completed its first public test flight in the Port of Hamburg in October last year. The City of Neom has ordered five VoloDrones and ten VoloCitys and plans to begin flight operations within the next two to three years.
For operations in France, test flights began almost a year ago, in June 2021, when the company flew their Volocopter 2X electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft at Le Bourget Airfield during the Paris Air Forum. This demonstrated the company’s Volocopter 2X and the VoloCity model onsite.
Velocopter now says that the partners aim to establish electric flight taxis and UAM commercially in France in two to three years.