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Tampa International Airport (TPA) hosted Florida’s first electric flying taxi test flight today

This morning, Tampa International Airport showcased the future of urban transportation by hosting Florida's inaugural electric vertical takeoff and landing plane (eVTOL) test flight. Known as electric air taxis, these eVTOLs promise a fresh approach to short- and medium-range urban transportation, aiming to alleviate traffic congestion and reduce environmental footprints.

Tampa International Airport, in partnership with Volocopter, hosted Florida’s first electric flying taxi test flight.

This historic test flight, in collaboration with the German urban air mobility firm Volocopter, symbolizes the region's legacy as the cradle of commercial aviation. The significance of this event was underscored by Tampa International Airport's Chief Executive, Joe Lopano, who confidently stated, "This is going to be a reality for us very soon."

The eVTOL flight demonstration occurred against a backdrop of onlookers comprised of state, regional, and transportation dignitaries. As the Volocopter aircraft, characterized by its unique ring of twelve small propellers, lifted off, it created a distinguishable hum - a sound quieter than the typical helicopter. Over five minutes, the test pilot, Olivier Renard, deftly maneuvered the aircraft, offering a glimpse of the future in the skies above Tampa.

Tampa International Airport, in partnership with Volocopter, hosted Florida’s first electric flying taxi test flight.

Dirk Hocke, Volocopter's CEO, emphasized the company's commitment to ensuring the aircraft's operations remain environmentally friendly, aiming to introduce a non-polluting mode of urban transport. Onlookers were able to witness the reduced noise levels firsthand, engaging in regular conversation even as the eVTOL soared overhead.

Distinguished attendees, including St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch, expressed optimism about the region's transportation future. Citing the transformative potential of technologies like air taxis, Mayor Welch elaborated on their role in elevating the Tampa Bay area's growth trajectory. He highlighted how projects like these, coupled with initiatives like the SunRunner rapid bus transit system and the construction of new infrastructures, could address the region's transportation conundrums.

Tampa International Airport has proactively explored the incorporation of eVTOLs into its infrastructure. Earlier this year, during its 20-year master plan update, the airport unveiled its interest in this revolutionary tech. Gina Drew, from TPA, mentioned that the airport's actual implementation strategy for eVTOLs would depend on regulatory evolutions and the aviation industry's advancements.

Although the technology promises a lot, Dirk Hocke acknowledged the challenges ahead, from attaining certifications to ensuring public acceptance. He remains hopeful, pointing to the Deloitte industry study which suggests that once federal approvals are in place, commercial operations could commence between 2025 and 2035. Hocke expressed confidence in the new generation of vehicles, emphasizing their safety, quietness, and zero-emissions.


Thank you to our Community Partners

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