eSTOL (electric short take-off and landing aircraft) developer announced on June 8th that it has acquired Airflow, another budding eSTOL developer founded by members the Airbus Vahana project.

Both and Airflow in their own rights have excellent teams which were well set up for success. These two companies are top of the market for eSTOL development, and with their combined efforts, now have an even greater chance at reaching commercial readiness in the near future.

The announcement of the acquisition of Airflow by Electra came at the UP Summit, an annual gathering of leaders in transportation innovation hosted by UP.Partners.

With this acquisition, Electra is consolidating Airflow’s eSTOL business under the Electra brand. Electra will integrate Airflow’s highly experienced team, backlog of letters of intent and strategic partnerships into its own activities, which complement and strengthen Electra’s portfolio and offer future customers more expansive and competitive options to meet future needs. 

Aircraft in development by both of these companies, which will now likely be a single aircraft, utilize distributed electric propulsion in order to take off and land in distances as short as two vehicle-lengths. These all-electric aircraft, which are capable of carrying up to 9 passengers or 1800 pounds of cargo up to 500 miles per flight, seek to offer ultra infrastructure-light solutions to regional transportation.

Effectively, the take-off and landing distances of these aircraft are so short that their infrastructure requirements and flexibility can be compared to those of a traditional helicopter, while still being able to travel with the range, speed, and economics of an airplane.

Above: Rendering of the infrastructure potential of the upcoming eSTOL

Said Marc Ausman, co-founder and CEO of Airflow, “The Airflow team and the Electra team both have deep experience in the development and testing of battery-powered aircraft. This experience convinced us that physics and the economics both strongly favor a solution that uses a wing throughout the full flight versus a rotor-borne vertical takeoff and transition.”

When comparing his aircraft to eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft), Ausman added, “This solution offers not only lower costs but a much more straightforward path to certification than vertical lift variants.” A press release from Electra added that for applicable missions, Electra’s technology could deliver 2.5x the payload and 10x longer range at 70% lower operating costs than vertical takeoff alternatives.  

John Langford, founder and CEO of Electra stated, ““There are dozens of aspiring entrants in the AAM market. The acquisition of Airflow complements Electra’s team, our sales pipeline, and technology portfolio which will allow customers to select the best solution to their needs in a rapidly expanding market.”

Why it’s important: Although eSTOLs cannot take-off and land entirely vertically, many regional transportation missions could easily be accomplished by these electric aircraft that can take-off and land within only feet. By combining the immense expertise of these two market forerunners in eSTOL development, and Airflow’s technology has an even more greatly accelerated path to market. Notably, this acquisition brings Electra’s order book up to almost 800 units.

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Posted by Benji