Airbus' Vahana aircraft successfully completes first full-scale flight test



Vahana, which is the all electric, self-piloted, VTOL aircraft from A³ by Airbus, successfully completed its first full-scale flight test on Jan. 31.

During the test, which was completed at the Pendleton UAS Range in Pendleton, Oregon, Vahana reached a height of 16 feet, before descending safely. The fully self-piloted flight lasted for a total of 53 seconds.

“Today we are celebrating a great accomplishment in aerospace innovation,” says Zach Lovering, Project Executive of Vahana.

“In just under two years, Vahana took a concept sketch on a napkin and built a full-scale, self-piloted aircraft that has successfully completed its first flight. Our team is grateful for the support we’ve received from A³ and the extended Airbus family, as well as our partners including MTSI and the Pendleton UAS Range.”

Vahana is a project developed at A³, which is the Silicon Valley outpost of Airbus. According to A³, Vahana aims to “democratize personal flight and answer the growing need for urban mobility,” by taking advantage of the latest technologies in electric propulsion, energy storage, and machine vision.

“Vahana’s first flight demonstrates Airbus’ unique ability to pursue ambitious ideas quickly, without compromising the quality and safety for which the company is well-known,” says Rodin Lyasoff, A³ CEO and former Project Executive of Vahana.

“For A³, it proves that we can deliver meaningful innovation with aggressive project timetables, to provide a real competitive advantage for Airbus.”

Vahana is operational without a passenger thanks to its self-piloted capabilities. Following these successful hover flights, the team will start focusing on additional testing, including transitions and forward flight.