Electric gyrocopter gets green light for test flights

A British company has been given approval to begin test flights of an electrically powered aircraft.

Bedfordshire-based ARC Aero Systems has secured certification from the Civil Aviation Authority that will allow it to begin live trials of the Avian Pegasus a vertical take-off (eVTOL) gyrocopter that can operate without a runway.

The firm hopes to supply the innovative craft to emergency services, tourism businesses and infrastructure firms who need to inspect projects in remote locations. It has already sold 10 vehicles to SkyAngles Air Ambulance. A Scottish pilot training school is understood to have ordered a further five.

The Pegasus is based on a design from the 1960s which never entered production and has now been modernised by ARC Aero Systems to fit into a low-emissions future. Rather than using a fully electric plug-in power system, the Pegasus uses a hybrid-electric motor which the firm says will run on a range of fuels, including hydrogen.

ARC’s founder and CEO Seyed Mosheni said he was ‘delighted’ with the CAA approval. He commented: “There is a huge and increasing demand, reflected in market growth forecasts, for an affordable, sustainable, runway-independent aircraft connecting remote rural areas for passengers and cargo.

“Through our adapted design of the Avian Pegasus, we are developing an aircraft that is already certified by global aviation authority rules and has existing pilot training programme syllabuses.

“We are at an exciting stage in our development and already securing advance orders for Pegasus demonstrating the wider market confidence in our innovative proposition. This current investment round offers investors an opportunity to join our journey and help drive the business forward as we prepare to enter a market that is set to increase five-fold by the end of the decade.”

The group has launched a new invest drive for the project after securing more than £10 million from investors including the British Business Bank.

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Matt Allan

Matt is Editor of EV Powered. He has worked in journalism for more than 20 years and been an automotive journalist for the last decade, covering every aspect of the industry, from new model reveals and reviews to consumer and driving advice. The former motoring editor of, The Scotsman and National World, Matt has watched the EV landscape transform beyond recognition over the last 10 years and developed a passion for electric vehicles and what they mean for the future of transport - from the smallest city cars to the biggest battery-powered trucks. When he’s not driving or writing about electric cars, he’s figuring out how to convert his classic VW camper to electric power.