Ameriflight announced this week a signed letter of intent (LOI) to purchase 35 VTOL air cargo drones from Sabrewing Aircraft Company, reports a press release. The agreement is for the Rhaegal‑A aircraft, also known as “Alpha”. Ameriflight expects to take delivery following type certification of the craft.
The Rhaegal‑A cargo drone “offers high-efficiency, all-weather operation with vertical landing and takeoff (VTOL) capabilities,” explains the release. The purchase enables Ameriflight to enter into new business opportunities in distribution centre logistics.
The release continues, “Using the VTOL capabilities to carry over a ton of cargo to off-airport alternative landing zones, the new cargo aircraft will allow Ameriflight to aid customers in developing a faster and more efficient warehouse distribution network. For Ameriflight, this will be a complementary service, not replacing their current flying operation, aircraft, or pilots. The company’s goal is to build diversified aviation services, and this fits well with that vision.”
Alan Rusinowitz, Ameriflight President and COO, commented, “Adding this advanced aircraft to our portfolio will complement our fleet and increase our assortment of assets, allowing us to expand our service areas through the development of warehouse distribution operations.” Adding, “With a payload capability of 2,000+ pounds, the Rhaegal‑A is perfectly suited for the medium lift category operation.”
Ed De Reyes, CEO of Sabrewing, remarked, “We’re excited to be at the forefront of autonomous innovation and to have Ameriflight at our side, with this new agreement marking the Alpha’s first American launch customer.”
He continued, “We’re committed to developing advanced, versatile, and efficient air cargo solutions with our best-in-class Rhaegal aircraft that maximise on long range, payload capacity, and sustainable fuel efficiency to successfully deliver on a range of cargo missions.”
Sabrewing’s Rhaegal‑A aircraft achieved its first hover flight last September, while lifting a record-setting payload of 829 pounds. The company is now focusing on the aircraft’s production line, with first deliveries expected to take place in the first quarter of 2024.
The release explains, “Innovation in design allows the Rhaegal‑A aircraft the ability to use sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) reducing carbon emissions by up to 80 percent, while maintaining the efficiency to fly cargo between facilities four times faster than can be driven and land in locations other aircraft cannot, eliminating the added cost of airport transfer of cargo.”
This potential sales marks Ameriflight’s second agreement to purchase autonomous aircraft after having signed with Natilus last month on the purchase of its Kona aircraft, a 3.8‑ton payload, short-haul feeder uncrewed aerial vehicle. Ameriflight intends to use both fleet types in tandem with their current operation.
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(Top image: Sabrewing Rhaegal‑A Autonomous Cargo Aircraft)