Bristow Group has reserved early delivery slots for five of Elroy Air’s Chaparral hybrid-electric VTOL cargo systems, having signed a letter of intent to pre-order 100 last year.
The Chaparral will be the first of its kind VTOL aircraft dedicated to cargo movement to be introduced into Bristow’s aircraft fleet. Bristow plans to use the Chaparral internationally to move time-sensitive cargo for logistics, healthcare, and energy applications.
Bristow executive VP Dave Stepanek said: “There is increasing demand for the movement of time-sensitive cargo for logistics, health care and energy applications. Securing these early delivery positions underscores our commitment to leading the Advanced Air Mobility market and builds on our 75+ year legacy of vertical lift innovations.
“At Bristow, we’re excited to usher in a new era of vertical lift operations and collaborate with Elroy Air to meet the emerging market of express shipping cargo in cities and regions without relying on existing or new airport infrastructure.”
The Chaparral is a ‘lift plus cruise’ hybrid eVTOL cargo aircraft that leverages the benefits of both conventional turbines and electric propulsion for autonomous operation and longer range.
Engineered with an advanced carbon composite airframe, Chaparral can be configured to ship inside a 40-foot container or in aircraft for rapid global deployment.
Elroy Air has introduced advanced modular cargo pods that complement the Chaparral’s capabilities. The pods are pre-loaded by ground personnel and autonomously retrieved by the Chaparral aircraft before takeoff.
Upon arrival at the delivery location, the aircraft autonomously lowers the pod to the ground. The Chaparral aircraft then retrieves the next pre-packed pod, creating a seamless bi-directional conveyor belt through the sky.
Elroy Air VP of business development and strategy Kofi Asante added: “Getting to this stage with reserved delivery positions secured with deposits underscores our relationship with Bristow and we are extremely pleased to be at this stage in development.
“Bristow’s expertise is a strong catalyst for bringing new aircraft like ours to the market. Their rotorcraft expertise, global footprint, and innovative mindset have made them a strong partner and we are excited for the next chapter together. We look forward to seeing the Chaparral operate internationally as part of the Bristow fleet.”
Last week, Bristow bosses met with Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross to discuss concepts for electric helicopter flights and how Scotland could lead the way for more environmentally-friendly air travel by 2030.