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Elroy Air

Elroy Air secures more than $2B in total aircraft demand and moves to new flight test facility

Elroy Air Press Release | January 11, 2023

Estimated reading time 5 minutes, 37 seconds.

Elroy Air, the company developing the first end-to-end autonomous VTOL aerial cargo system, has signed an agreement with LCI, a leading aviation company and a subsidiary of Libra Group, for commitments to purchase up to 40 of the company’s Chaparral VTOL aircraft, with down payments on a number of the vehicles.

Elroy Air
LCI has signed an agreement with Elroy Air for up to 40 Chaparral VTOL aircraft, unlocking aircraft financing for humanitarian delivery services. Elroy Air Image

The company has now secured more than $2 billion in aircraft purchase demand in the commercial, defense and humanitarian sectors.

“We’re experiencing an enthusiastic response to the Chaparral and its capabilities to serve as a key part of a safe, efficient, and capable fleet of aircraft to respond in emergency situations, keep pilots out of harm’s way, and enable rapid logistics in a new and sustainable way,” said David Merrill, CEO and co-founder of Elroy Air. “Through our agreement with LCI, the Chaparral will be available for financing — enabling much broader access to the aircraft. We are proud that the Chaparral will now be part of LCI’s aviation fleet and look forward to providing aerial cargo transport globally.”

The Chaparral is the first end-to-end autonomous VTOL cargo delivery system. It is designed for aerial transport of up 500 pounds (225 kilograms) of goods over a 300 nautical mile range, enabled initially by a turbine-based hybrid-electric powertrain with distributed electric propulsion, and specially designed aerodynamic modular cargo pods.

“Applications for the Chaparral include aerial cargo transport for disaster relief, firefighting and humanitarian operations without risk to pilots or the need for airport infrastructure,” said Kofi Asante, vice president of business development and strategy. “What’s particularly exciting about our agreement with LCI is that it unlocks financing for the Chaparral for humanitarian use and enables us to share the Chaparral’s capabilities worldwide.”

Jaspal Jandu, CEO of LCI, says: “This commitment for the pioneering Chaparral system will enable us to efficiently support mission critical, remote logistical work and socially responsible humanitarian work around the world. It will do so in complement with the wide-ranging capabilities of our existing aviation fleet.

“We have been impressed with Elroy Air’s vision and approach and look forward to working closely with the team on a wide range of market opportunities. This forms part of our wider advanced air mobility strategy and will strengthen LCI’s position as a leading provider of leasing, financing and investing solutions for this new and exciting market.”

Elroy Air

Company moves to Byron Airport for flight testing

Elroy Air has moved its flight testing facility to Byron Airport in Byron, California. The company is using the new facility to support full-scale ground and flight testing. The company will initially be conducting tie-down testing to validate the software and hardware of its Chaparral C1 vehicles to validate safety of flight through a series of ground tests. Elroy Air has moved its ground control station (GCS) to the airport, a custom-built mobile enclosure with engineering stations, weather monitoring, viewport windows, a dedicated network infrastructure, a datalink control and monitoring radio system and a rooftop observation deck. The GCS contains its own uninterruptible power supply (UPS), aircraft monitoring computers, and a climate control system. The GCS will be used to support both ground and flight tests.

In partnership with Urban Air Mobility — a joint-venture between MS Commercial, Inc. and Nearon Enterprises — Elroy Air has leased and prepared a new hangar at Byron airport for its ground and flight test campaigns, to ensure smooth and efficient progress to first flight and beyond. The hangar is equipped with a large aircraft storage and work area, high-speed internet, desks for engineers in a furnished mezzanine, video conferencing capabilities, and a kitchenette. The Byron hangar houses the first production vehicle, C1-1, and thanks to the Chaparral’s wing stowing mechanism, multiple C1 systems can be housed and maintained within the hangar.

This press release was prepared and distributed by Elroy Air.

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