Airbus’ ‘flying taxi’ isn’t much to look at, but it’s a major step toward electric flight

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Last month, aerospace giant Airbus conducted the first successful test flight of its Vahana electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. At the time, Airbus only provided still photos to prove its claim of 53 seconds of hovering. But now we’ve got a video, and… yep, still just 53 seconds of hovering.

At first glance, it’s not much to look at: an egg-shaped cabin perched on landing skids with eight rotors and wings that tilt up or forward for vertical or horizontal flight. It’s the kind of thing many people would dismiss as an up-jumped drone, or a very confused helicopter. But the Alpha One prototype is a huge departure from Airbus’ traditional lineup of aircraft. And with an all-electric motor, it represents a pretty…

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