Pipistrel to Deliver in China
Ajdovščina, Slovenia-based Pipistrel announced on April 12 that it had partnered with SF Express, one of China’s leading integrated logistics providers, to develop a hybrid-electric eVTOL cargo aircraft, apparently based on Pipistrel’s Nuuva V300 unmanned cargo aircraft that it announced last year. The aircraft is designed to deliver 660 lb (300 kg) of cargo in a 81 ft³ (2.3 m³) volume space over a range of 310 miles (500 km) with cruising altitudes up to 19,700 ft (6,000 m) and VTOL capability up to 8,200 ft (2,500 m) above sea level. SF Express subsidiary, Munich-based Amazilia Aerospace, will provide the automatic flight control system and vehicle management system (AFCS/VMS), which “builds on years of research at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) reinforced with aerospace industry experience.” SF Express stated that it hopes to be operating the aircraft in 2023, and expects to need more than 1,000 VTOL logistics drones in the next 10 years to achieve its goal of 36-hour countrywide delivery throughout China. Honeywell provides the attitude heading reference system, air data module and fly-by-wire control system for the bespoke V300.