Overair receives $145M boost, targets first flight with Butterfly eVTOL in 2023
By eVTOL | June 14, 2022
Estimated reading time 3 minutes, 52 seconds.
Backed by $145 million in new funding from Hanwha Group, California startup Overair said it plans to begin flight testing its experimental eVTOL prototype in the second half of 2023.
Along with the new funding, the companies also announced on June 14 that Hanwha’s aerospace division will provide electric motors and battery packs for Overair’s prototypes as the companies expand their research and development work. The South Korean investor had previously injected $25 million into the company in 2019.
Ben Tigner, co-founder and CEO of Overair, calls the funding a “tremendous milestone” that will position the company to bring its Butterfly eVTOL to market for aerial ridesharing services.
“We’ve proven Butterfly’s propulsion system, so we’ll now begin validating Butterfly’s ability to operate safely in real-world weather conditions, carry significant payloads, and fly incredibly quietly,” Tigner said about the company’s flight test program.
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Overair is developing a piloted eVTOL with a targeted payload of 1,100 pounds (500 kilograms) that will be able to accommodate up to five passengers or cargo. The aircraft is expected to have a range of 100 miles (160 kilometers), and top speeds of 200 mph (320 km/h).
Butterfly’s optimum speed propulsion (OSP) uses four large propellers, which spin slowly when hovering and even slower when cruising. The company said this draws only a fraction of the available motor power, giving its aircraft extra payload capacity and power margins to operate in challenging environmental conditions. Overair claims its slow-turning propellers are quiet, which will also allow the Butterfly to operate in high-density areas and noise sensitive communities.
Founded in 2019 as a spin-off venture from Karem Aircraft, Overair has since garnered interest from Bristow Group which pre-ordered up to 50 aircraft earlier this year.