- Chinese eVTOL pioneer accelerates global expansion
- Former Airbus manager Mark Robert Henning appointed as Managing Director at AutoFlight Europe
- R&D and Certification Center established at Augsburg airport in Germany
- AutoFlight’s airtaxi ‘Prosperity I’ ready for passenger transport in 2025
AutoFlight, the Chinese eVTOL pioneer, continues its global expansion and establishes its first location in Europe: A team led by former Airbus manager Mark R. Henning is now ramping up at Augsburg Airport in Germany. The team’s first task is to achieve European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification for AutoFlight’s airtaxi ‘Prosperity I’, an electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft with a range of approximately 250 kilometers. It can comfortably seat up to three passengers in addition to the pilot. The certification program for this airtaxi will begin this year, with completion expected by 2025.
A dedicated and growing team will work at the R&D and certification center in Augsburg. AutoFlight plans to establish additional locations for test and demonstration flights across Europe. ‘Prosperity I’ is the company’s first manned aircraft. Previously, the company’s focus was on unmanned cargo drones.
“I am delighted to share that Mark Henning is joining AutoFlight in Europe to build our ‘Prosperity I’ airtaxi according to EASA safety standards,” said Mr. Tian Yu, the company’s founder, Chairman and CEO.
Safety is and always will be AutoFlight’s top commitment. The eVTOL pioneer is dedicated to making its airtaxi ‘Prosperity I’ as safe as a commercial airliner, and will work closely with European authorities.
In January 2022, Mark Henning took on the position as Managing Director at AutoFlight Europe, which based in Augsburg/Germany. The aeronautical engineer and graduate of Munich’s Technical University has worked in the aviation industry for 26 years. Mr. Henning started his career at DASA and held leadership positions at EADS and Eurocopter. Previously, he was Manager for Governmental Business at the helicopter division of Airbus and head of product EC135. He has also held positions in program management, strategy, production and development and has worked for the Airbus Group in Indonesia, South Korea, Israel, South Africa and the United States.
Says Henning: “We are bringing aircraft construction back to Augsburg, creating a high-tech location and jobs as we build drones and create a completely new market segment for airtaxis. What I really like about AutoFlight and ‘Prosperity I’ is the underlying simple concept. Simplicity translates into safety and efficiency.”
The simplicity of AutoFlight’s design is the so called ‘lift and cruise’ – configuration. It combines superior range and safety with low technical complexity, making it affordable.
AutoFlight is one of the earliest tech companies in China to make autonomous eVTOL, including large payload logistics and autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Logistics UAVs were introduced first. AutoFlight completed more than 10,000 takeoffs and landings in adverse weather conditions. The company is now ready to build its people carrier ‘Prosperity I’ and will show the progress made in its transition tests in a few weeks.
AutoFlight is a global high-tech startup, founded in China, dedicated to developing and manufacturing autonomous aerial vehicles. The company’s primary mission is to provide safe and reliable aerial logistics systems and urban air mobility solutions for people. AutoFlight uses new technologies, including artificial intelligence, autonomous driving, 5G, and materials to drive developments in the eVTOL (electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing) industry.
The company is headquartered in Shanghai, with a flight control system research center in Germany and a composite material manufacturing plant in Jining/Shandong province. The company has a diversified eVTOL product mix, with a focus on large scale logistics aircraft and autonomous passenger aerial vehicles.
In 2021, European tech holding company Team Global, based in Berlin/Germany, invested 100 million US dollars in AutoFlight. Its founder and CEO, Lukasz Gadowski, is a board member of AutoFlight.