US: TPA Hosts First Successful Air Taxi Test Flight in Florida

Earlier this month, Tampa International Airport (TPA) held Florida’s first successful air taxi trial flight.

The test flight, which lasted eight minutes, saw airport, city and state officials gather at the airport to observe the state-wide first, with electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) manufacturer, Volocopter, providing the piloted vehicle for the demonstration.

The test flight lasted eight minutes

Urban air mobility (UAM) is a category of aircraft focusing on short to medium-range flights, developed for transporting people and goods within urban environments. Vehicles are typically intended to be understated and sustainable, with the introduction of UAM expected to lower the carbon footprint of the aviation industry as a whole.

TPA CEO Joe Lopano said:

“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.

“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.”

TPA recently formed a special committee dedicated to the study of eVTOL infrastructure in Tampa Bay and how it might integrate with existing airspace. The group has also been working with state, federal and industry leaders to form a better understanding of how the vehicles can be utilised in the near future, as well as gain knowledge of the FAA safety requirements and regulations.

Guests at the event included Tampa Bay Mayor Jane Castor, St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch and a number of notable figures from within the aviation and transport industry.

The demonstration follows Volocopter’s recent partnership with the Bristow Group, a specialist in global vertical flight solutions, to integrate eVTOLs with existing transport infrastructure. The company has completed test flights in three US locations, with Tampa being both the first site in Florida as well as its first test flight at a major US airport.

Volocopter CEO Dirk Hoke said:

“Flying at a large, active airport always presents a multitude of challenges, but we proved that our aircraft is safe, quiet, and efficiently useful in a city like Tampa.

“Volocopter sees this as the starting point of the entry into service in the U.S., and we will come back to show our continued progress. We thank all attending guests for the support given to make this first-ever eVTOL flight in Florida a success.”

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