Dufour Aerospace has announced a development cooperation for the air ambulance version of its Aero3 eVTOL aircraft with Swiss Air-Rescue Rega – the leading Swiss air rescue organisation.
The company has said its Aero3 is the first of its kind to feature a tilt-wing design with exceptional space, load, and range for emergency medical services (EMS) and patient transport. The full specifications of Aero3 was revealed last month and it is an extension of the Aero2, a smaller, unmanned version of the aircraft which was first test flown by Dufour Aerospace in 2020.
During product development, Rega will support Dufour Aerospace with know-how on medical and aviation equipment and will advise on operational standards and certification. Dufour Aerospace offers Rega the opportunity to influence the development of the Aero3 at an early stage.
Thomas Pfammatter, CEO of Dufour Aerospace, said: “The collaboration with Rega will challenge Dufour Aerospace and advance our product development. They are a global leader in air rescue with the highest standards. Through this partnership, we will better understand and meet the needs of our customers.
“The Aero3 will meet the requirements for demanding patient transport, combining vertical take-off with sufficient load, high speed and range. Aero3 will be more efficient, less expensive and quieter than today’s helicopters and will integrate seamlessly with existing infrastructure and systems.”
Swiss Air-Rescue Rega provides rapid and professional medical assistance from the air for people in emergency situations. To fulfil its mission, Rega reaches every location in its operational area in Switzerland within a 15-minute flight by rescue helicopter. This is made possible by thirteen operational bases spread throughout the country.
With three of its own ambulance jets, Rega also flies sick or injured people from abroad back to their home country. As a private, non-profit foundation, it acts independently of the state or financial interests and is supported by more than 3.6 million patrons, whose annual contributions keep Rega in the air for the benefit of the Swiss population.
With this new partnership, both Rega and Dufour Aerospace believe this cooperation represents an important step towards making the advances of advanced air mobility available to patients. They have also signed a corresponding letter of intent, with further details of content and timing to be revealed soon.
Ernst Kohler, Rega CEO, added: “Continuous development is in Rega’s DNA. The Aero3 is an exceptionally interesting aircraft, and we want to support its development with our experience from 70 years of HEMS operation.”
Dufour Aerospace relies on the tilt-wing principle: Aero3 will take off and lands vertically in the smallest space like a helicopter, but flies as fast and economically as an airplane.
While the propellers are electrically driven, hybrid elements – such as conventional turbine or fuel cells – ensure a sufficiently long range. In addition to the Aero3, Dufour Aerospace’s Aero2, an unmanned aerial vehicle also based on the tilt-wing principle.