Airspace Experience Technologies (ASX) is partnering with Spirit AeroSystems to jointly develop its Mobi-One electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Aerostructures group Spirit will provide support for the startup in design, manufacturing, and type certification work.
Announcing the planned partnership on February 17, ASX also indicated that it intends to launch a Series A funding round in March 2020. The privately-owned company had previously said that it would start the process of finding fresh investment before the end of 2019. At the time, it indicated that it hoped to raise $6 million in order to take it through to the end of the preliminary design phase of the program.
ASX co-founder Dr Anita Sengupta told AIN that the company is now building a full-scale testbed vehicle that it aims to fly "within 12 months." At the same time, it is also working on an engineering design version of the Mobi-One that will be closer to the production version of the aircraft. Previously, ASX has said that it will have the aircraft certified to start cargo flights in 2023 and passenger-carrying operations in 2024.
Wichita-based Spirit AeroSystems designs and builds aerostructures for various civil and military aircraft manufacturers. The company, which specializes in advanced composite and aluminum manufacturing, has facilities in the U.S., France, the UK, and Malaysia. Initial technical meetings between the Spirit and ASX teams are due to start in late February.
ASX was formed in April 2017 and in January 2018 the company unveiled a scale model of its Mobi-One tiltwing aircraft. By the end of December 2018, it had flown five sub-scale concept vehicles ahead of starting work on building its first full-scale prototype.
In May 2019, the company launched parallel funding rounds under U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's CF and D regulations in partnership with SeedInvest to raise $8 million to support development work. According to SeedInvest, ASX had previously raised just over $761,000 prior to the latest funding round.
The announcement of the partnership with Spirit gave no indication as to the projected timeline for getting the Mobi-One ready to enter service. Previously, ASX has said that it will have the aircraft certified to start cargo flights in 2023 and passenger-carrying operations in 2024.
It has previously signed a memorandum of understanding with transportation and logistics group TPS Logistics to evaluate market opportunities for eVTOL aircraft.