Elroy Air Sells 100 More Units of Its Long-Range, Autonomous, Cargo VTOL Aircraft

Chaparral VTOL 8 photos
Photo: Elroy Air
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Aiming to meet the increasing express shipping cargo needs in urban areas and to usher in a new era of vertical lift operations, aviation services provider Bristow recently pre-ordered 100 units of Elroy Air’s Chaparral hybrid-electric cargo VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft.
San Francisco-based company Elroy Air is working on developing autonomous aircraft solutions that can solve the shipping problems humanity is facing today. Our infrastructure is outdated and maxed out, which leads to messed-up supply chains, constant delays, and so on. Out of the desire to offer a more reliable system, Elroy Air has come up with its Chaparral cargo aircraft, a hybrid-electric VTOL that boasts a huge payload capacity and an equally impressive range.

The first pre-production version of the aircraft was unveiled back in January as the Chaparral C1, and it is a true pickup truck of the sky. It will be able to carry between 300 and 500 pounds (136 and 226 kg) over a distance of up to 300 miles (482 km). Elroy Air’s VTOL has a full carbon composite airframe and a turbine-based, hybrid-electric powertrain. It features eight vertical lift rotors and four forward propellers for cruise flight.

The payload is transported in a lightweight, modular pod that gets picked up automatically by the Chaparral before taking off. In fact, the picking up of the pod is not the only action done without the intervention of a ground operator, as the aircraft can also take off and land autonomously. And it can do all of the above in just a few minutes.

The Chaparral will be Bristow’s first such autonomous VTOL aircraft to join its fleet and will be used to serve logistics, the healthcare, and energy sectors. It will help offset the pilot shortage and will also reduce emissions thanks to its hybrid-electric powertrain.

Elroy Air states that it has secured agreements to supply 900 aircraft to date for commercial, defense, and humanitarian customers.
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About the author: Cristina Mircea
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Cristina’s always found writing more comfortable to do than speaking, which is why she chose print over broadcast media in college. When she’s not typing, she also loves riding non-motorized two-wheelers, going on hikes with her dog, and rocking her electric guitars.
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