A prototype flying taxi designed in Bristol is to take to the skies for testing this summer.
Vertical Aerospace has built a functioning prototype of its four-engined VX4 aircraft, which is designed to carry four passengers and a pilot at speeds of up to 200mph for trips of up to 100 miles, and is about to start a months-long programme of flight tests.
The company, which is based in Bristol and was set up by the founder of green energy company Ovo, Stephen Fitzpatrick, said it has received more than 1,400 orders for the VX4.
The craft takes off vertically like a helicopter before tilting its engines forward to act more like a regular plane. Vertical Aerospace's customers include American Airlines, Virgin, and Japan Airlines. It will buy its electric engines from Rolls-Royce.
Mr Fitzpatrick said: “I am delighted to share that we have reached a critical engineering milestone by completing the build of our full-scale VX4 prototype, and we have now begun putting it through its paces for an intensive, multi-month flight test programme.
“I am grateful for the efforts of our amazing team, and for our outstanding partners that have got us to this point as we continue to leverage their deep sector expertise to build, fly and industrialise our aircraft to revolutionise the way we travel.”
The company spent £59.2m in developing its flying taxi in the first six months of the year, leaving it with £157.6m. It expects to spend a further £40-50m in the next six months.
Last month the company signed a deal with the defence contractor Babcock to develop an ambulance version of the vehicle to sell to emergency services and the military.
The New York-listed company has also arranged to be able to sell up to $100m of extra shares to keep the firm topped up with funding.
Since listing as part of a merger with a so-called special purpose acquisition vehicle in December, its shares have lost just over a third of their value, following the trend of many Spacs, which raised money during a frothy time for financial markets and have since declined in value.
Shares rose 2pc to $8.20 on Monday, valuing the business at $1.75bn (£1.4bn).