Lift-off for UK capabilities in urban air mobility composites

The NCC and WMG support Vertical Aerospace in growing their product range in the urban air mobility market, which is estimated to be worth £800bn by 2040

Key results

Preparing for the future

NCC’s industrial guidance to meet the future demands for UAMs from the analysis, tools, production processes and materials.

Safety for new aircraft

NCC supported the development of the company’s airframe, proposing and assessing solutions to ensure this new class of aircraft was safe for the test pilot.




Vertical Aerospace is a UK pioneer in a growing urban air mobility (UAM) market, estimated to be worth £800bn by 2040. Its Electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft, the VX4, is designed to transport a pilot and up to four passengers at 150mph with a range of around 100 miles, while producing minimal noise and zero in-transit emissions. Their challenge was an ambitious timeline to have the VX4 certified to the same standard as commercial airlines. This included delivering a propeller blade that met aerodynamic efficiency, noise, and mass requirements but with improved structural capabilities to tolerate bird strikes.

To de-risk production and certification, Vertical Aerospace relied on the experience of a world-class ecosystem of engineering experts, including the NCC and WMG – two of the seven HVM Catapult centres.

Working with Vertical Aerospace, NCC’s team of experts with backgrounds in aerospace, automotive, composites design and manufacturing, focused on the design and manufacture of components for the company’s test flight programmes. This included working across the entire product development cycle to build the unique composite propeller blades, elements of the VX4 demonstrator airframe and battery development.

Michael Cervenka, Chief Technology Officer, Vertical Aerospace said:

Vertical has chosen a strategy that gives us the lowest risk path to certification, and this includes leveraging on expertise and technologies from the most credible industry-leading partners and suppliers. Collaboration with the National Composites Centre’s expert team has significantly contributed to the development of critical components our aircraft, and de-risking our path to certification. Ultimately, our priority is to ensure the VX4 achieves the highest safety, reliability and performance standards.

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Find out more about the NCC’s work in urban air mobility

Side view of the Vertical Aerospace VX4
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