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Vahana air taxi makes first test flight in Oregon

Vahana flight
Vahana’s Alpha One air-taxi prototype flies over a test range in eastern Oregon. (Vahana Photo)

This week marked a milestone for Airbus Ventures’ Vahana team, which is developing a self-flying, electric-powered air taxi — also known as a flying car.

Vahana’s 20-foot-wide Alpha One prototype executed its first test flight at the Pendleton Unmanned Aerial Systems Range in eastern Oregon, rising to a height of 16 feet (5 meters) during 53 seconds in the air on Jan. 31.

Another test flight came a day later, Vahana project leader Zach Lovering reported in a Medium posting.

Representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration and Airbus’ A3 advanced-projects division were in attendance, along with the full Vahana team, Lovering said.

“In just under two years, Vahana took a concept sketch on a napkin and built a full-scale, self-piloted aircraft that has successfully completed its first flight,” he said in a news release.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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