4-Nov-2022 Source: Spright
Today, Spright, the drone division of Air Methods, the leading provider of helicopter emergency medical services, and Dufour Aerospace, the innovative Swiss eVTOL company, announced the purchase by Spright of 40 Aero2 with options for additional 100 aircraft. The cooperation and sales agreement over up to 140 Aero2 aircraft represents the largest commitment by an operator to date for the Aero2 design, and one of the largest civilian unmanned aerial vehicle purchases in U.S. history.
“Dufour Aerospace has developed an impressive Swiss Army Knife for unmanned air mobility that will meet our anticipated future needs. With today’s announcement, we demonstrate our commitment to their vision and to their technological approach, in which we are proud to be the first operator in the U.S.,” said President of Spright Joseph Resnik. “This is a multi-year and multimillion-dollar commitment by Spright and it will enable us to serve the critical goods distribution markets efficiently.”
The Dufour Aero2 aircraft expands Spright’s opportunity to serve the healthcare community by carrying heavier payload over longer distances. This translates to more patient samples, larger tissue specimens and organs, and heavier supplies and equipment being transported with the on-demand speed and efficiency that is unique to drone delivery.
Dufour Aerospace is developing the next generation of eVTOL aircraft, with a focus on the emergency medical services market and movement of time-sensitive, critical cargo. The company has two designs: the Aero2 is designed for unmanned, remotely piloted operations; and the Aero3, a manned, 8-seat aircraft designed specifically for air ambulance and HEMS operations. Each design features a tilt-wing that combines the best of helicopters and airplanes: vertical take-off and landing on even the smallest spots and energy-efficient longer-range flight at high speeds.
“We are delighted by the confidence shown by Spright in Dufour Aerospace, evidenced by today’s purchase announcement for the Aero2,” said Thomas Pfammatter, CEO of Dufour Aerospace. “Our partnership, which extends far beyond unit sales of Aero2, is a significant milestone for us in our development of tilt-wing, unmanned and manned products for advanced air mobility. Spright’s commitment shows that there is great market potential for Aero2 for safe and efficient medium and long-range operations with unmanned aerial vehicles.”
Spright will assist Dufour in obtaining type certification for the Aero2, including technical, data, and flight activity support for demonstration purposes, such as durability, failure, and reliability testing, and detect and avoid capabilities. Spright will also be the exclusive Aero2 service, maintenance, and training partner for third parties in North America.
Terms of the purchase, development, and service agreement between the parties are not disclosed. Flight testing of the Aero2 is underway in Zurich, Switzerland.
Spright is the drone division of Air Methods, created to help solve for many of the toughest challenges facing communities across North America. This innovative, drone-based solution leverages emerging aeronautical technology to create operational solutions that can be implemented locally. Based in Gilbert, Arizona, Spright as a stand-alone Part 135 Operator with a leadership team that touts more than 70 years of aviation operational experience.
About Dufour Aerospace
Dufour Aerospace develops efficient and ecological aircraft for patient and passenger transport, logistics and public safety. Dufour Aerospace relies on the tilt-wing principle: the tilt-wing aircraft which are currently under development, take-off and land vertically in the smallest space like a helicopter, but fly as fast and economically as an airplane. While the propellers are electrically driven, hybrid elements (conventional combustion engines or fuel cells) ensure a sufficiently long range. The first product Dufour Aerospace will launch is the Aero2, an unmanned aerial vehicle specifically designed for the transportation of critical cargo such as medical supplies of up to 40 kilograms/88 pounds in medium to long range distances. The manned Aero3, featuring a spacious cabin with eight seats and large doors, is the next aircraft in development by Dufour Aerospace.