Dufour Aerospace is a unique VTOL start-up based in Switzerland. It’s mission is to develop a passenger VTOL for areas like the Swiss Alps, where mountainous terrain can cause extremely long travel times between cities.
The Dufour team has already made significant progress by developing an electric airplane that has proven flight up to one hour, multiple times per day. Dufour predicts that it will have its aEro2 eVTOL for testing by 2020.
On November 14th, Dufour announced the formation of Senior Advisory team, which includes Professor Dr. Leonardo Manfriani (former chief aerodynamicist at Pilatus Aircraft), Dr. Pierluigi Capone (former head of flight control laws at AgustaWestland), and Dr. Jean-Christophe Zufferey (Co-founder and former CEO of senseFly).
This Announcement also comes with a statement from Dufour saying that The Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm recently conducted a performance review of the aEro2’s design, which confirmed its stability with at least 10% safety margin across all modes of flight.
Dufour is also closely working on its R&D projects with ETH Zürich and the Zurich University of Applied Sciences to “further develop Dufour’s tilt-wing aircraft propulsion, control systems, and human-machine interfaces”.
Among the notable members of the Senior Advisory team is Dr. Jean-Christophe Zufferey, who is the co-founder and former CEO of senseFly, which developed a series of fixed-wing drones for various commercial mapping needs including agriculture, construction, environmental protection, and mining. Drones made by sureFly can fly up to 90 minutes at altitudes up to 400 ft. SureFly is now a subsidiary of the Parrot Group.
Also significant on the advisory team is Dr. Leonardo Manfriani, former chief aerodynamicist at Pilatus Aircraft. Pilatus is a leading developer of private aircraft ranging from trainer planes to passenger jets. Having Manfriani on the senior advisory will greatly help Dufour reach its goal of a 2020 fuselage build.
Why it’s important: With the formation of its new senior advisory team, Dufour continues to grow. In early September, it hired test pilot Damian Hischier, who has extensive experience in testing new aircraft. The new senior advisory team further validates the aEro2 concept, and builds momentum for Dufour.