Tampa Bay, FL. / November 9, 2023 / Aviation News –
On November 2nd, in collaboration with Tampa International Airport and Volocopter, Sheltair generously offered its convenient location and hangar space at its award-winning Tampa, Florida, (TPA) FBO location to host a historic multilayered flight test campaign marking a pivotal moment in the evolution of Urban Air Mobility (UAM). Setting the stage for a dynamic future of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft in the United States, this event positions Tampa at the forefront of UAM innovation, as one of the first cities to commence operations and visualize the remarkable possibilities that lie ahead.
Lisa Holland, President of Sheltair, proudly expresses, “Sheltair is honored to have been chosen to host this event, as we are committed to supporting and wholeheartedly embracing the future of Urban Air Mobility (UAM).”
Joe Lopano, CEO of Tampa International Airport, further underscores the commitment to innovation, stating, “Tampa International Airport has always embraced forward-thinking planning and has already identified a potential site for urban air mobility within our Master Plan. This technology holds the potential to revolutionize the aviation and transportation industry, and we are thrilled to partner with Volocopter as we usher in and visualize the remarkable possibilities that lie ahead.”
The centerpiece of this historic event was the crewed Volocopter 2X, representing the first-ever eVTOL flight test within the confines of an operational and large international airport in the United States. Notably, it was also the first eVTOL test in the state of Florida, solidifying the region’s position as a focal point for UAM development and innovation.
The multilayered flight test campaign encompassed critical phases, including aircraft FAA testing in coordination with the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), as well as performance testing in the unique environmental conditions of Tampa, Florida.
Media, partners, and distinguished guests had the privilege to witness this groundbreaking event, which was graced by the presence of key figures supporting the UAM industry’s growth and the acceleration of public acceptance of eVTOLs in the United States.
Notable attendees included Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared Purdue, Mayor of Tampa Jane Castor, and prominent Congressional leaders, all of whom recognize the transformative potential of UAM and its role in shaping the future of aviation. Their presence underlines the collaborative effort required to propel eVTOLs to the forefront of urban aviation.
EVTOLs represent a new frontier in electric aircraft, with a focus on short- to medium-range flights for urban environments, catering to both passenger and cargo transport needs. Dirk Hoke, Chief Executive Officer of Volocopter, emphasized the significance of the event, stating, “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 a 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.”
Volocopter’s commitment to quiet, safe, and sustainable operations through certified eVTOLs enhances transportation efficiency and reduces congestion while ushering in the era of aviation decarbonization.
In line with this vision, Volocopter recently announced a strategic partnership with the Bristow Group to commence eVTOL operations in the near future, with Florida identified as a key region for deployment. Since 2018, Volocopter has conducted visible flight tests in several cities, including Las Vegas, Oshkosh, Dallas-Fort Worth, and now Tampa. These public flight test campaigns are essential in garnering community support, a critical step in building an efficient UAM ecosystem. Collaborative partnerships with organizations like Urban Movement Labs in Los Angeles since 2021, infrastructure developers, operators, air traffic authorities, and lawmakers all play a crucial role in scaling electric urban aviation across the United States.
Sheltair Aviation’s role in hosting the Volocopter flight test campaign exemplifies its unwavering commitment to spearheading economic growth and supporting the future of aviation in the United States.
Sheltair is a family-owned company that enjoys a national reputation for its superior customer focus and service-driven corporate culture. Founded in 1963 by Jerry Holland, father of current Sheltair President Lisa Holland, it is the nation’s largest privately-owned aviation network, proudly operating 16 award-winning FBOs and a portfolio of over 4.5 million square feet of aviation-related properties under the mission of Family First. Fuel, Build, Serve.
Volocopter brings urban air mobility (UAM) to megacities worldwide. We aim to improve the quality of life for people in cities by offering a fantastic new mode of transportation. For that, we create sustainable and scalable UAM ecosystems with partners in infrastructure and operations.
Volocopter’s family of eVTOL aircraft will offer passengers (VoloCity and VoloRegion) and goods (VoloDrone) swift, secure, and emission-free connections to their destinations, supported by VoloIQ, the UAM ecosystem’s software platform that serves as its digital backbone for safe and efficient operations.
As a pioneer in the UAM industry, Volocopter will launch commercial services within the next few years. Founded in 2011, the company employs more than 500 people in Germany and Singapore, has completed over 2,000 successful public and private test flights, and has diverse investors, including Geely, NEOM, Mercedes-Benz Group, Intel Capital, and BlackRock.