AutoFlight names former Mini designer as design chief for new Prosperity 1 eVTOL

29 Mar 2023

AutoFlight, which recently set a new distance record for the longest flight by an electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) craft, has named former Mini and Ferrari designer Frank Stephenson as the director of design for the new Prosperity 1.

Frank Stephenson Design has overseen the design of both the interior and exterior of the craft, the third eVTOL machine it had led development of. The focus for the AutoFlight was on the use of lightweight materials but adding a luxurious finish to the interior.

AutoFlight boss Mark Robert Henning said that Stephenson's "unique style is already evident on Prosperity 1 with its sleek, sculpted, uncluttered and dynamic feel that has been inspired by a natural sense of flow and dynamics."

The confirmation follows news that start-up firm EVFLY has placed a huge order for 205 Prosperity 1 passenger and Prosperity Cargo aircraft, and is aiming to put the first 10 machines into action for cargo deliveries in the Middle East. Future deliveries will be deployed in Asia and Africa.

The deal came shortly after Prosperity 1's record-setting 155-mile flight. That was completed on February 23, and comprised 20 circuits of a flight track at its base in China, with the machine remotely piloted from the ground. The 155-mile distance narrowly eclipses the previous longest eVTOL flight of 154 miles, set by Joby Aviation in 2021.

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AutoFlight is currently developing the Prosperity 1 with the goal of being certified for commercial use in 2025, and the record attempt was the first time the new fourth-generation design of machine had flown. The Prosperity 1 features the firm’s built-in avionics measurement systems, but third-party systems were added so that the record attempt could be independently verified.

The Prosperity is capable of claimed speeds in excess of 125mph, with a range of more than 155 miles. AutoFlight says that it has already clocked up more than thousands of total miles of flight in its tests.

Conceived for use as a flying taxi, the machine can house carry three passengers in addition to the pilot. It is the firm’s first manned aircraft, after its previous efforts centred on remote drones.

AutoFlight was founded in China but its major technical operations are based in Germany. It is seeking to secure air worthiness certification both from US and European officials in 2025.


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