Dufour Aerospace has just published specification details on the Aero3, its flagship VTOL tilt-wing aircraft that aims to combine exceptional space, load and range for various transportation missions including most of today’s helicopter applications. This piloted, multi-purpose hybrid aircraft is a successor to the unmanned demonstrator aircraft test flown by Dufour Aerospace since 2020.

A demonstration of the Aero 3’s transition from horizontal to vertical flight. Credit // Dufour Aerospace

Aero3 will feature a decentralized electric main propulsion system of eight motors powering six propellers fixed to the main tilt-wing and two smaller tail propellers. Its large cabin and wide doors allow for a 6- or 8-seat configuration and offer enough space for patient or cargo transport. The design features an exceptional cruise speed of 350 km/h (189 knots) and a range of up to 1020 km (551 nautical miles), Aero3 will be the perfect tool for most VTOL applications.

According to Thomas Pfammatter, CEO and Co-founder of Dufour Aerospace: “The tilt-wing design of Aero3 combines the best of the worlds of helicopters and airplanes – the ability to take off and land like a helicopter and the efficiency and speed of an airplane in cruise flight. It is the perfect tool to serve future Advanced Air Mobility markets because it is efficient and safe. But even while these markets are in their infancy, our product will replace a significant number of today’s light and medium helicopters, as it meets the requirements of today’s operations at much lower costs, more sustainable and will be much quieter. It will seamlessly integrate with existing infrastructure and airspace.”

“Our test flights with a large-scale demonstrator and the wind tunnel tests have clearly confirmed the exceptional performance and versatility of the tilt-wing design,” said Jasmine Kent, CTO and Co-founder of Dufour Aerospace. “The results met our high expectations. The tilt-wing is a proven aerodynamic concept with a long history of thousands of flight hours in several projects, such as the inspirational Canadair CL-84, so there are fewer risks than with other VTOL concepts. Now three years into our tilt-wing development programme, we are confident that this aircraft can be built successfully to meet certification requirements.”

Why it’s important: While Aero3 is the flagship of Dufour Aerospace’s tilt-wing product family, the Swiss company is simultaneously and ambitiously working on a smaller, unmanned aircraft named Aero2, using the same aerodynamic and technical principles. Aero2 is designed for logistics applications, inspection, monitoring, mapping, and public safety tasks; this implies that Dufour will have the capability to reach a wide array of markets and potential customers with its suite of products, thereby diversifying its revenue streams. Earlier this year, the company also announced that it received funding from session.vc and existing investors to accelerate growth; these investments have proven to be essential in the progression towards the commercial launch of its versatile (hybrid) eVTOL platform.

Source // Dufour Aerospace press release

Posted by George Gatsios

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