Airflow, the developer of one of the world’s first all-electric cargo eSTOLs (short take-off and landing aircraft) has partnered with electric aircraft expert Pipistrel to provide propulsion components.
Airflow, the all-electric eSTOL developer founded by several former members of the Airbus Vahana project, has just added yet another partner to its growing list of propulsion providers. While it has selected Verdego Aero for an upcoming hybrid-electric powertrain, and Plug Power for a potential hydrogen-power configuration, electric aircraft expert Pipistrel is now set to provide Airflow’s eSTOLs with motors, motor controllers, and batteries. These will be used on Airflow’s full-scale proof-of-concept prototype, laying the groundwork for the production version of the aircraft.
To date, Pipistrel is the maker of the first and still the only type-certified electric airplane in the world, the Velis Electro.
The initial, cargo-carrying version of the Airflow eSTOL is aimed primarily at ‘middle mile’ transport of e-commerce goods and more. The company claims that its aircraft will be able to effectively replace many middle-mile cargo trucks that take items from shipping ports to warehouses, by providing transport at much higher speeds for only slightly higher costs, while at the same time using much greener energy. Airflow is also targeting hospitals, which often need items transported much more quickly than is possible by truck. The Airflow eSTOL will take-off and land within 150 feet with 500 lbs of cargo, fly at speeds up to 200 mph, with ranges of up to 500 miles depending on power supply configuration.
Said Marc Ausman, Founder and CEO of Airflow, “Pipistrel’s pioneering work in electric flight and their industry-leading experience in building and certifying powertrains for electric aircraft makes them an ideal partner to help us build and fly a first-of-its-kind eSTOL airplane. They understand and can meet the challenges of a high-performance system with the reliability and safety requirements of the aerospace industry.”
Said Ivo Boscarol, CEO of Pipistrel, “We relish working with partners that are pursuing ambitious and achievable goals in electric aviation. The Airflow team understands what it takes to bring a new electric aircraft to market and their experience building and flying the Airbus Vahana makes them one of the best positioned teams to accomplish this.”
Why it’s important: Pipistrel is becoming an industry-leading expert as an electric propulsion developer and manufacturer. Its recent deal with Airflow, combined with high degree of success in developing and manufacturing its own Velis Electro fixed-wing aircraft, give it a higher degree of validity than many other new players in the space. Airflow meanwhile, is gaining exponential momentum towards certification through this and other partnerships, and with its strategic market positioning, is looking to become one of the first distributed electric-propulsion commercial solutions to hit the market.
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Source // Pipistrel