Innovative Tilt-Wing VTOL Made in Switzerland Gets a New Financial Boost

The Aero3 tilt-wing VTOL is due to enter service by 2025 7 photos
Photo: Dufour Aerospace
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The combination of a tilt-wing (for improved aerodynamics) design with hybrid propulsion could be the winning formula for rugged aircraft that can handle challenging missions, with no emissions.
Back in 2021, a small drone managed to stand out among the vast number of drones out there, due to its tilt-wing design. The manufacturer, Dufour Aerospace, dubbed it “the Swiss Amy Knife of small unmanned aircraft” for its versatility.

Blending VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) capabilities with a hybrid propulsion module, the Aero2 is capable of carrying heavy loads over large distances. This makes it valuable for many types of operations, from infrastructure surveillance to SAR (Search and Rescue) and EMS (Emergency Medical Services).

The Aero2 unmanned aircraft is due to enter the production phase this year. In the meantime, the Switzerland-based manufacturer has also continued to develop the manned version of this aircraft, which will become its flagship – the Aero3.

The manned Aero3 boasts the same main features as the Aero2, namely the tilt-wing design and hybrid propulsion system, incorporated in a design that’s adapted for passenger transportation. Thanks to the VTOL design, it can combine the benefits of an airplane (mainly in terms of speed and operational costs) with those of a rotorcraft (better flexibility for taking off and landing, even in areas with very limited space available).

Combining electrically-driven propellers with either conventional turbines or a fuel cell system (sometime in the future) the Aero3 can obviously offer a much better range than eVTOLs. According to Dufour Aerospace, it can transport a payload of up to 1,650 pounds (750 kg) over 630 miles (1,020 km) at over 215 mph (350 kph) – which is more than the maximum speed of typical eVTOLs.

Due to these capabilities, the Swiss manufacturer sees this VTOL as better fitted for transporting patients between hospitals, instead of regular air taxi services. This is also because these types of emergency medical operations don’t require brand-new infrastructure, as air taxis do. Even so, the hybrid Aero3 isn’t estimated to officially hit the market earlier than 2025.

The good news is that Dufour Aerospace can now focus more on bringing this aircraft to life, thanks to fresh funding. The company recently completed a Series B investment round, led by Vista Global, a major private aviation group. As a result, both the Aero2 and Aero3 are expected to soon join Vista’s service network around the world.

In the meantime, the Swiss company has also secured other future customers for both its unmanned small aircraft and passenger VTOL. One of them is an Australian startup, V-STAR Power Lift Aviation. This confirms, once again, that more and more of the new aviation operators are willing to focus exclusively on green and sustainable aircraft for their fleets.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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