Bristow, Elroy Air sign LoI for 100 Chaparral VTOL aircraft

Chaparral will carry 300–500 pounds (136-226 kg) of cargo over 300-mile (482 km) range.

Bristow, Elroy Air sign LoI for 100 Chaparral VTOL aircraft

NYSE-listed Bristow Group, the world's leading global provider of innovative and sustainable vertical flight solutions, has signed a letter of intent (LoI) with Elroy Air to pre-order 100 Chaparral hybrid-electric cargo vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft.

The Chaparral will be the first of its kind VTOL aircraft dedicated to cargo movement to be introduced into Bristow's aircraft fleet, says a statement from Bristow.

"Bristow plans to use the Chaparral to serve logistics, healthcare, and energy applications." Additionally, the Chaparral provides a solution to challenges helicopter operators are facing across the world including reducing emissions by introducing hybrid-electric powertrain and helping offset the pilot shortage by introducing autonomous aircraft for cargo operations, the statement added.

"Leveraging our expertise as both a helicopter and Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) operator, we plan to use the Elroy Air Chaparral aircraft to fill an increasing demand for the movement of time-sensitive cargo for logistics, healthcare and energy applications," says Dave Stepanek, Executive Vice President and Chief Transformation Officer, Bristow. "Bristow has 70+ years of experience moving people and cargo. We expect to leverage that experience to usher in a new era of vertical lift operations and meet the express shipping cargo needs in cities and regions without relying on existing or new airport infrastructure."

The first production version of the Chaparral will carry 300–500 pounds (136-226 kg) of cargo over a 300-mile (482 km) range with its hybrid-electric powertrain and simple, redundant vertical and forward-flight propulsors. Goods are to be loaded into an underslung pod that latches to the fuselage and can autonomously be picked up and dropped off in a 50-foot landing square, the statement said.

Although operated autonomously, the Chaparral can also be remotely piloted to comply with civil aviation authorities and airspace integration policy.

"The response and excitement around the Chaparral and problems it can address have been amazing over these last few months since we unveiled the aircraft," says Kofi Asante, VP, Business Development and Strategy, Elroy Air. "The Chaparral was built for the challenges we're facing today. Demand for rapid logistics is outpacing today's infrastructure. The Chaparral creates a fast-lane for middle-mile logistics to an unprecedented range of locations that can serve remote, rural areas and can fly over rough terrain. We're proud to work with the global leader in vertical flight solutions to create the future of express logistics."

Elroy Air has secured agreements to supply 900 aircraft to commercial, defence and humanitarian customers, the release said.

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