MightyFly, a U.S based cargo drone delivery company founded in 2019, announced today it has received an FAA Certificate of Authorisation, reports a press release. This allows trialing of its long-range, last-mile and middle-mile cargo drone.

This second-generation craft called Cento, took just 9 months from concept to first flight, assisted by a USD5.1 million seed funding. The FAA certificate allows trials for up to a 600 mile range carrying 100 lbs of cargo. MightyFly will be able to accelerate development of its autonomous aircraft, with a larger airspace (230 sq miles) in which to test the transition from hover to forward flight at medium and high altitudes (up to 5000 feet). 

The release states, “The Cento, previously referred to as the MF-100, is a hybrid, electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) aircraft with a cargo capacity of 100 lbs, a range of 600 miles, and a max speed of 150 mph.”

It continues, “With eight electric vertical lift fans, one forward propulsion propeller, and a high wing carbon fibre airframe, the fully loaded Cento weighs just 355 pounds.

“It measures 13.1 ft by 16.7 ft taking up a total area less than two compact cars. This means the ground transfer stations required onsite can simply be two car spots in an existing parking lot.” 

Manal Habib

Cento is equipped with a 6 ft by 1 ft by 1 ft internal cargo bay able to carry 96 small USPS packages. Cargo is loaded and unloaded by a conveyor belt that operates autonomously, which allows no human handling required apart from the drop-off and pickup points at the ground hubs.

As Cento is equipped with a hybrid powertrain, it does not require recharging between flights. An internal combustion engine recharges the aircraft’s battery while in the air leading to a potential 600 mile range, enabling it to perform multiple consecutive deliveries.

Manal Habib, MightyFly CEO and co-Founder, commented, “The traditional hub-and-spoke distribution model can still serve businesses that have centralised warehousing and shipping systems in place and that have experienced few logistics issues.”

She continued, “But if there is one lesson we’ve learned from supply chain bottlenecks and logistics over the past few years, it’s that we need flexibility – to be able to adapt to various cargo volumes and expedited timing or urgencies. Medical companies, just-in-time manufacturing, and the 51 percent of all retailers that now provide same-day delivery need a faster and more affordable way to get their goods and perishables to the final destination.”

MightyFly’s Cento is ideally suited for retail, medical, automotive and manufacturing businesses, but it has also attracted government-level interest, specifically in defence, from the United States Air Force (USAF). The USAF has recognised the agility of MightyFly’s performance and is supporting further development of its technology.

Meanwhile, the company is aiming to develop a larger craft that can carry 500 lbs of cargo. MightyFly was named a ‘Top Supply Chain Startup to Watch’ in 2022 by Business Insider.

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(Images: MightyFly)