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Hybrid-electric VTOL developer Elroy Air has completed what the company claims is the first turbogenerator hybrid-electric VTOL flight.
The milestone test flight was carried out on Nov. 12 at the company’s facility in Byron, California, using the Chaparral C1 — an autonomous lift-plus-cruise cargo delivery aircraft with a distributed electric propulsion system and turbogenerator-battery architecture.
Elroy CEO Dave Merrill called the flight an “exhilarating day for our team and the industry as a whole.” The team witnessed the aircraft utilizing its turbogenerator system and high-power batteries to take off vertically, fly for 57 seconds, and successfully land.
“This marks a major moment for the industry as hybrid-electric aircraft enable the dual benefits of runway-independent redundant propulsion, and long-range flight well in excess of battery power alone,” Merrill said. “Our accomplishment puts Elroy Air one step closer to delivering a transformative logistics capability to our customers and partners.”
Elroy intends for its aircraft to be used for commercial air shipping, humanitarian aid, and military logistics, already securing partnerships with Mesa Airlines, AYR Logistics, LCI, Bristow, and FedEx. Elroy also holds three active contracts with the U.S. Air Force, and said its vehicle backlog exceeds $3 billion in future revenues.
“Without the support of our investors, commercial partners, and the department of the Air Force’s visionary Agility Prime effort, we would not be this much closer to making our vision a reality,” said Elroy Air co-founder and chief product officer Clint Cope.