Tampa International Airport (TPA), Florida, and Volocopter, an urban air mobility (UAM) provider, have successfully kicked off a multilayered flight test campaign with a crewed Volocopter 2X. This marks the first flight test of an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft in an operational and large international airport in the U.S., and the first eVTOL test in the state of Florida.
The flight test campaign consisted of aircraft downwash and outwash testing with the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) and performance testing in local environmental conditions. Media, partners, and guests were invited to the event with a clear view of the public on location. The invitees included Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared Purdue, Mayor of Tampa Jane Castor, and leaders from Congress who are supporting UAM industry growth, regulatory advancement, and acceleration of public acceptance of eVTOLs in the U.S.
Stateside, Volocopter recently announced its partnership with the Bristow Group to begin operations of eVTOLs in the near future, with Florida being one of the targeted areas of operation. Since 2018, Volocopter has flown in Las Vegas, Oshkosh, Dallas-Fort Worth area, and Tampa. Continued and visible flight test campaigns in view of the public are crucial steps to building an efficient UAM ecosystem that receives the communities' support. This includes cities, for instance, the partnership with Urban Movement Labs in Los Angeles since 2021, infrastructure developers, operators, air traffic authorities, and lawmakers to push this new form of electric urban aviation to scale in the U.S.
“Tampa International Airport has always embraced innovation and futuristic planning, and we’ve already identified a potential site for urban air mobility as a part of our Master Plan,” TPA CEO Joe Lopano said. “This technology has the potential to transform the aviation and transportation industry, and we’re excited to partner with Volocopter as we introduce and visualize the amazing possibilities that lie ahead.”
Volocopter expects to receive a final certification of its commercial eVTOL aircraft, the VoloCity, from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in 2024. The company is also in the concurrent validation process with the FAA, which was submitted in 2020, and has been working with both authorities to bring urban air mobility to life.