Japan: Volocopter Impresses On-Lookers with First Osaka and Hyogo Flights

Volocopter 2X Flying at Osaka Heliport

Volocopter, the German-based eVTOL manufacturer, successfully conducted a multi-day flight test campaign (from December 7th to 13th) with a crewed 2X eVTOL Aircraft in the Japanese cities of Osaka and Amagasaki, reports a press release. 

This week-long testing campaign signifies a completion of the first steps of local flight trials to acclimate the crew, communications tools and flight test procedures in preparation for the 2025 Osaka EXPO. There are just 500 days left to its opening.   

The release states, “The purpose of these flights was two-fold: to test aircraft operations under conditions similar to those expected during the EXPO and to accelerate the public awareness of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft in Japan.”

It continues, “Local guests, including the Osaka governor, Osaka City mayor, prefectorial representatives, city officials, partners, and media, witnessed the final flight test day event, co-hosted by Sumitomo Corporation, Volocopter’s strategic partner and investor in Japan. 

“In addition, over 200 local primary and secondary school students joined as an “out of the classroom” learning event, conducting a Q&A session with Volocopter’s MD, Christian Bauer, Chief Test Pilot Paul Stone, the Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura and the Osaka City Mayor Hideyuki Yokoyama, around the innovative eVTOL aircraft technology.”  

The flight tests were conducted at the Osaka Heliport in proximity to the planned 2025 EXPO pavilion location in Osaka Bay. Choosing this location gives insight and data into how Volocopter could shape eVTOL operations when the exhibition begins.  

Hirofumi Yoshimura, Governor of Osaka Prefecture, commented, “After witnessing Volocopter’s test flight up close alongside hundreds of excited students, the aircraft did not disappoint. I have great expectations for eVTOLs, and with the help of Hyogo and other neighbouring prefectures, we will push forward to make the EXPO a success to support the future of the industry beyond 2025. ”

Christian Bauer, MD of Volocopter, added, “Seeing the children’s faces light up when the Volocopter took to the air was the absolute highlight of the day. As a novel technology, public awareness of eVTOLs and the creation of the UAM ecosystem are where we need to focus for Japan.”

The release continues, “Earlier in the week, the crewed Volocopter 2X also performed an aircraft behavioural flight with the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO), Japan’s national research and development centre. For this multi-day flight test campaign, Volocopter was awarded subsidies from Osaka Prefecture, Osaka City, Hyogo Prefecture, and NEDO, with further support from its sponsors such as Sekisui Chemical Company, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company, Kintetsu Group Holdings, and Schenker-Seino Company.”

Since late last year, Volocopter has been awarded multiple grants in Japan to conduct classroom studies on eVTOLs for school children in Osaka as well as route and communication feasibility studies in Tokyo. 

In March, the company showcased a VoloCity eVTOL in a shopping mall in Osaka city centre, where it attracted many thousands of people in just a few days. 

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