Honeywell, Vertical Aerospace Sign Supplier Agreement

Proof-of-concept test flight.
Credit: Vertical Aerospace

Honeywell and urban air mobility (UAM) vehicle developer Vertical Aerospace have signed a letter of intent naming Honeywell as the avionics supplier for Vertical’s passenger-carrying demonstrator aircraft.

The agreement, announced on Aug. 11, expands on contracts the companies signed in 2019 to equip the electric-vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) demonstrator aircraft with a Honeywell fly-by-wire system and flight-control software.

Vertical Aerospace, based in Bristol, UK, has built a proof-of-concept prototype aircraft propelled by four ducted fans and the Seraph eVTOL, which uses six pairs of coaxial rotors for lift. Capable of carrying loads of up to 250 kg (551 lb.), the Seraph accomplished its first flight at Llanbedr Airport, Wales, on Aug. 22, 2019.

The company is now developing a faster, longer-range eVTOL aircraft that will be capable of carrying five people and represents a “steppingstone toward a certified product,” CEO Michael Cervenda said.

“Vertical is well advanced in the development of its next-generation, high-performance, passenger-carrying vehicle,” Cervenka said. “We are excited at the prospect of broadening our partnership with Honeywell, enabling our vehicles to leverage not only Honeywell’s state-of-the-art flight-control systems, but also to marry these with the very latest in intuitive and safe flight deck technologies.”

The new letter of intent calls for Honeywell to provide multi-touch displays, system controls, software and the vehicle operating system.

“One of the most important outcomes of this program will be the successful demonstration of simplified vehicle operations, which essentially is about making these aircraft more intuitive and flattening the learning curve to safely fly them,” said Stéphane Fymat, Honeywell vice president and general manager for UAM and unmanned aircraft systems. 

Bill Carey

Based in Washington, D.C., Bill covers business aviation and advanced air mobility for Aviation Week Network. A former newspaper reporter, he has also covered the airline industry, military aviation, commercial space and unmanned aircraft systems. He is the author of 'Enter The Drones, The FAA and UAVs in America,' published in 2016.