On March 7, 2018, Zurich, Switzerland-based Dufour Aerospace announced the development of its latest aircraft, the aEro 2. Building on the success of its aEro 1 fully-electric aerobatic plane — which first flew in June 2016 — the aEro 2 is a modular hybrid-electric VTOL.
The two-seat Dufour aEro 2 tiltwing is designed to cruise at speeds of up to 173 kt (320 km/h) in wingborne flight. In its fully electric configuration, the aEro 2 has a range of 65 nm (120 km) but an optional auxiliary power unit can be fitted in a hybrid configuration to extend the range up to a total of 430 nm (800 km). Dufour said its aEro 2 will be more than five times faster than a car but at the same cost per distance.
The company said that it evaluated numerous concepts, particularly tilt-wing and tilt-rotor approaches. By December 2017, Dufour had flown scale models of its aEro 2 tiltwing for 20 hours in real flight conditions in all configurations. The company said it plans to fly a one-third scale model in real flight conditions this October, finalize the design after CFD simulation results, and begin fabrication and assembly late next year. Daedalean, a Zürich-based startup, will be tapped to develop fully autonomous operation of aEro 2.