Manta Aircraft and private medical air transport company Avionord have agreed to field up to 15 hybrid-electric long-range eVTOL aircraft derived from Manta’s ANN platform.
Avionord will also take a stake in the company with deliveries expected to start in 2026, while the partnership will foster the development of an ecosystem and a timely establishment of Advanced Air Mobility.
The use of the innovative aircraft platform is planned all in the area of special transport of organs for transplants and transport of equipment for re-perfusion of organs destined for transplantation, as well as rapid-intervention operations.
The eVTOL option to connect helipads from two hospitals in different cities, coupled with the long range and low infrastructure requirements, result in new point-to-point capabilities and economic efficiencies, representing a significant cost saving and noise reduction compared to conventional helicopters.
Avionord CEO Eugenio Cremascoli says: “After analysing the market and considering our time-critical missions, we see that the Manta ANN platform is today the only eVTOL offering a range of several hundred kilometres, which is useful for the missions to transport organs for transplantation from one hospital to another, and avoiding dependence on airports and road transport.
“The ANN eVTOLs will enable us to reduce the transportation time of the organs that have a limited life when not connected to the dedicated machines, using aircraft with a reduced operating cost.”
Manta Aircraft CEO Lucas Marchesini adds: “We are very pleased with this partnership with Avionord, which has recognised the ANN platform in terms of range, pushing into the direction of creating a real user case that will contribute to the rapid establishment of Advanced Air Mobility.
From the outset, the design of the aircraft was planned for a relevant range and speed in combination with low infrastructure requirements and overall costs at a fraction of the cost of a helicopter suitable for these kinds of operations.”
The investment of Avionord in Manta Aircraft follows the investment of other Italian tech companies in an effort to expedite the creation of an Italian AAM ecosystem.
Manta Aircraft plans to begin certification of the first two-seat multi-purpose model, ANN2, in 2023, with testing currently underway of a 1:3 scale demonstrator, with a final configuration of the prototype expected to start flying in 2022.
ANN2 features eight electric ducted fans and measures 28ft in length, with a 22ft wingspan. It can travel more than 600 km with a cruise speed of 300km/h and a larger, four-seater version is also in development.