Monday, 24 Jun 2024

Energy billionaire’s flying taxi crashes in Cotswolds in disastrous test flight

A flying taxi owned by the UK-born billionaire and Ovo Energy chief Stephen Fitzpatrick has reportedly crashed during a test run in the Cotswolds.

Mr Fitzpatrick’s US-listed flying taxi firm Vertical Aerospace confirmed that a prototype version of the product crashed while testing the “aircraft’s manoeuvrability” on Wednesday.

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The Bristol-based startup is building a five-seater flying taxi that can reach speeds of up to 200mph.

However, no one was injured during the accident as the crashed aircraft was being remotely piloted, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Vertical Aerospace was founded by Mr Fitzpatrick, 45, the green energy billionaire, in 2016 to build small, battery-powered, vertical takeoff aircraft.

It went public in New York 16 months ago via a “blank-cheque” merger that valued it at $2.2 billion, shortly before the market soured. It is valued now at about $330 million.

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Auditors raised concerns over Vertical Aerospace’s finances earlier this year. 

They warned that there was a “material uncertainty” it could continue and said it had to raise additional funds to secure its long-term future.

Mr Fitzpatrick, a serial entrepreneur who once owned a Formula 1 team, founded Ovo in 2009.

He bought Kensington Roof Gardens, once owned by Richard Branson, in 2020 and is lavishing millions of pounds on a luxury makeover.


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