Vertical and Bristow partner to electrify helicopter market for a new era in vertical transport

Source: press release, 21 September 2021

Vertical has developed the VA-X4, a piloted electric, zero carbon operating emissions, vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft capable of carrying four passengers with a top speed of up to 174 knots and a range of 161+ kilometres
Vertical has developed the VA-X4, a piloted electric, zero carbon operating emissions, vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft capable of carrying four passengers with a top speed of up to 174 knots and a range of 161+ kilometres (photo: Vertical Aerospace Group Ltd)

Bristow Group Inc., a global provider of vertical flight solutions to government and civil organisations, and Vertical Aerospace Group Ltd, a British engineering and aeronautical business pioneering zero-emissions aviation, have announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under which the two firms will cooperate on the certification, operational planning and potential purchase of up to 50 eVTOL aircraft.

Bristow’s pre-order of 25 aircraft, along with the option for an additional 25, builds on Vertical’s world-leading pre-order book of up to 1,000 aircraft. Along with conditional pre-orders from American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Avolon, this announcement illustrates the sector-wide confidence in Vertical as a leading designer and manufacturer of eVTOL aircraft: the VA-X4. Vertical’s four-passenger, one pilot VA-X4 is expected to have speeds of up to 200 mph (174 knots), a range of more than 100 miles (161+ kilometres), near silent when in flight with zero emissions and low cost per passenger mile.

“Our MoU with Vertical allows us to build upon our leadership position in the vertical transportation market for the past 70+ years and now sets the stage for the disruptive advantages of the VA-X4 with its zero carbon emissions and low operating costs for passenger transport. Our expansion into these new and existing geographic markets with sustainable, innovative and efficient vertical lift and aerial transport services will offer passengers superior regional air mobility solutions,” says Bristow President and Chief Executive Officer Chris Bradshaw. “As the global leader in vertical lift, Bristow’s operational expertise and efficiency, supported by the trust and confidence of our customers, can safely bring eVTOL aircraft into the market.”

“Bristow’s global expertise and reach means it is the perfect partner for Vertical as we seek to pioneer the transition to zero emissions flight. We look forward to working with Bristow and accelerating the commercial operation of eVTOLs,” says Stephen Fitzpatrick, Founder and CEO of Vertical Aerospace.

Under the MoU, the two companies have agreed to develop a joint working group to collaborate on the following areas: regulatory and airspace; demand, fleet size, spare parts and infrastructure; potential customers; and public acceptance and environmental requirements.