04 April 2022 || 4 min read
Blueberry Aviation, a global commercial aircraft and helicopter specialist, and Dufour Aerospace, a Swiss eVTOL company, announced on April 4th that they’ve signed a global partnership agreement. Under this agreement Blueberry Aviation will provide marketing advisory and placement support to Dufour Aerospace. Blueberry Aviation will be Dufour’s privileged partner for helicopter trade-in and will set up financial tools to fund or lease Dufour products. Also of substantial note and included in Dufour’s press release was acquisition plans from Blueberry Aviation to purchase 100 Aero2 and 100 Aero3 products from Dufour.
Blueberry Aviation has 20 years of experience in the commercial aircraft and helicopter markets and resultantly is well posied to support Dufour Aerospace in launching its aircraft and achieving its commercial goals.
The tilt-wing design of Dufour Aerospace’s aircraft family combines the ability to take off and land vertically like a helicopter with the efficiency and speed of a conventional aircraft, without the constraints and limitations of other eVTOL designs. With unparalleled range and speed, high payload and large access doors, Dufour’s Aero2 and Aero3 offer many assets for operators and end users seeking efficient and cost-effective sustainable technology.
The Aero2 is an electric-hybrid, remotely piloted aircraft which has applications in surveillance and mapping activities, critical cargo delivery (high value goods or medical supplies such as blood, vaccines or organs), or public security applications like search and rescue and firefighting.
The Aero3 is a larger, pilot operated aircraft with a has a maximum take-off weight of 2800kg (6173 lbs), a useable weight of 750kg (1653 lbs) with a cabin for up to 8 passengers, a cruise speed of 350 km/h (189 knots), and a range of 1020 km (551 nm). Dufour is marketing the Aero3 as a replacement for many helicopter operations, particularly EMS transport, SAR operations and surveillance, and also asserts that the Aero3 will “create tremendous opportunities for airlines to attract new customers by feeding their current routes with legs from previously untapped areas with limited air services.”
The aircraft is being designed to meet EASA’s SC-VTOL (Special Condition for VTOL) standards, making use of a hybrid-electric propulsion system to meet the requirements of operators in multi platforms. Aero3 is due to be certification ready in 2025 with an entry into service in 2026.
Why it’s important: The partnership between Dufour and Blueberry will aid both firms’ progress in the emerging aerial mobility space by leveraging one another’s strengths as an OEM and marketing/operating specialist, respectively. Blueberry’s helicopter background will supplant the future transition toward mixed aircraft medium operations, including that of eventual eVTOL aircraft introduction to the current fleet of traditional helicopters. Further, laying the frameworks for these types of operations today will better prepare global aviation operations for an equipment swap once the time is right and the technical maturity of AAV systems is adequate to begin passenger carrying operations.
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