Hydrogen power spreads its wings with vertical take-off and landing aircraft


Sydney-based zero emission aircraft designer and manufacturer AMSL Aero has been conducting low-altitude and low-speed flight test demonstrations with its vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft at an airstrip near Wellington in New South Wales (NSW).

AMSL has previously developed and flown an electric battery only aircraft but the Vertiia integrates a hydrogen fuel cell that the company said gives the aircraft a much longer range.

The Australian designed and manufactured Vertiia, that features eight electric motors and tilting wings, and takes off and lands like a helicopter but flies like a fixed-wing plane, is being developed with a range of up to 1,000 kilometres and cruising speeds of 300 kmh.

The Sydney-based company expects the test results will demonstrate the feasibility of a renewable hydrogen-powered air transport system while increasing understanding of the regulatory, safety and operational requirements, including Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) certification for the aircraft.

ASML has already landed the first commercial order for its Vertiia aircraft from Aviation Logistics, which earlier this year signed an order and paid deposits for 10 of the aircraft, with an option for 10 more.

The company behind regional airline AirLink, charter operation Chartair, and aeromedical service AirMed plans to initially deploy Vertiia for its freight and charter flight services.

Aviation Logistics Executive Director Matthew Kline said he believes Vertiia is set to revolutionise the movement of people and freight across the country by providing greater access to air transport while opening up new market opportunities that currently do not exist.

“Our order is a sign of a commitment to the future development of sustainable air transport in Australia and represents a significant investment that will secure Aviation Logistics future as one of Australia’s leading aviation companies,” Kline said.

AMSL Aero Chief Engineer Andrew Moore, left, Board Chair Chris Smallhorn, and COO Siobhan Lyndon.

Image: AMSL Aero

AMSL Chief Executive Officer Max York said at the time that test flights of Vertiia are ongoing with 2024 expected to be a “huge year” for the company.

“This deal catapults Vertiia from world-leading development aircraft to commercial reality,” he said.

AMSL Aero is aiming for a public demonstration of Vertiia in 2025, and commercial availability in 2026, pending regulatory approval.

Based at Sydney’s Bankstown Airport, AMSL Aero has secured more than $50 million in funding from private investors and government programs, including the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, to develop the new aircraft.

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