Electra Acquires Airflow to Create a Powerhouse in Advanced Air Mobility

Electra.aero acquired Cal­i­for­nia-based Air­flow in an announce­ment made at the UP Sum­mit on 2nd June, an annu­al gath­er­ing of lead­ers in trans­porta­tion inno­va­tion host­ed by invest­ment firm UP Part­ners.

Both Elec­tra and Air­flow have been build­ing blown-lift, ultra-short take­off and land­ing air­craft that favour the flex­i­bil­i­ty of a heli­copter, yet have the longer range and supe­ri­or eco­nom­ics of a fixed-wing air­craft, in order to cre­ate a pow­er­house in the emerg­ing advanced air mobil­i­ty (AAM) mar­ket.

Elec­tra will con­sol­i­date Airflow’s eSTOL busi­ness under the Elec­tra brand and will inte­grate its expe­ri­enced team, back­log of let­ters of intent and strate­gic part­ner­ships into its own activ­i­ties.

Air­flow co-founder and CEO Marc Aus­man said: “The Air­flow and Elec­tra teams both have expe­ri­ence in devel­op­ing and test­ing bat­tery-pow­ered air­craft, which con­vinced us that the physics and eco­nom­ics favour a solu­tion that uses a wing through­out the full flight ver­sus a rotor-borne ver­ti­cal take­off and tran­si­tion air­craft.

“Dis­trib­uted elec­tric propul­sion allows us to take off and land with­in two vehi­cle lengths to access park­ing-lot sized spaces, and offers not only low­er costs but a much more straight­for­ward path to cer­ti­fi­ca­tion than ver­ti­cal lift vari­ants.”

Electra’s eSTOL air­craft is cur­rent­ly designed to trans­port nine pas­sen­gers and a pilot or 1800 pounds of car­go up to 500 miles in all weath­er con­di­tions. The com­pa­ny claims its tech­nol­o­gy deliv­ers two and a half times the pay­load and 10 times longer range at 70% low­er oper­at­ing costs than ver­ti­cal take­off alter­na­tives.

Elec­tra founder and CEO John Lang­ford added: “The Air­flow team is expe­ri­enced and moti­vat­ed, and this acqui­si­tion will allow Elec­tra to grow and scale more quick­ly.”

The acqui­si­tion places Electra’s order book at almost 800 units, beyond break-even for com­mer­cial devel­op­ment. When used with sus­tain­able avi­a­tion fuels, Electra’s first-gen­er­a­tion, hybrid elec­tric sys­tem offers a car­bon-neu­tral avi­a­tion solu­tion, burn­ing a third less fuel than con­ven­tion­al air­craft.

In April, Elec­tra pro­mot­ed James ‘JP’ Stew­art, pre­vi­ous­ly Direc­tor of Pro­grams, to Vice Pres­i­dent and Gen­er­al Man­ag­er, hav­ing joined the com­pa­ny in the fall of 2020 short­ly after its found­ing.

Pri­or to Elec­tra, Stew­art was Senior Tech­ni­cal Pro­gram Man­ag­er at Auro­ra Flight Sci­ences (a Boe­ing Com­pa­ny) where he led the devel­op­ment of an eVTOL air­craft for Porsche.

Before that in Feb­ru­ary, Elec­tra was award­ed a Phase III Small Busi­ness Inno­va­tion Research (SBIR) con­tract from the US Air Force.

The con­tract, award­ed through the Air Force Agili­ty Prime pro­gramme, will help accel­er­ate Electra’s plan to begin flight test­ing a full-scale hybrid eSTOL tech­nol­o­gy demon­stra­tor air­craft lat­er this year.

eVTOL Insights Editorial

This article was compiled by the eVTOL Insights editorial team.

eVTOL Insights is part of the Industry Insights Group. Registered in the UK. Company No: 14395769