Airflow has announced it is developing one of the first full-scale piloted eSTOL technology demonstrators.
The aerial logistics company, which was set up in 2019 by five former Airbus Vahana team members, aims to bring eSTOL capabilities to the middle-mile logistics market. Its completed aircraft is expected to go into production in 2025.
For the past year, the team – consisting of Marc Ausman, Don Fung, Geoffrey DuBridge, Peter Kalogiannis and Robbie Bunge – have been utilising a sub-scale model for test flights that have helped develop eSTOL flight control technology.
The next phase will transform a Cessna 210 into an eSTOL aircraft with Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP). This enables operations into and out of very short runways, by providing more control at slower airspeeds.
Kalogiannis said: “Selecting the Cessna 210 saves us the effort to design and build the pieces that already work, such as the cockpit, fuselage, landing gear, etc. We’ll concentrate on changing the rest to make it an eSTOL aircraft.
Talking more on a Medium post, he added: “We’ll remove the existing piston engine and wing and replace them with a new wing and eight electric motors and propellers.
“We’ve got a fantastic set of partners we’re working with to design and build the aircraft and a world-class supplier for the electric propulsion system. I can’t wait to show you more details as we start building and testing.”
Last month, the company announced it was partnering with VerdeGo Aero to explore using its VerdeGo Aero hybrid-electric powertrain system in the eSTOL aircraft.