Blueberry Aviation and Dufour Aerospace, have signed a global partnership agreement. Blueberry Aviation will provide marketing advisory and placement support to Dufour Aerospace. The Monaco-headquartered company will be Dufour’s privileged partner for helicopter trade-in and will set up financial tools to fund or lease its partner company’s products.
In addition, Blueberry Aviation will acquire 100 Aero2 and 100 Aero3 products from Dufour Aerospace.
Through this collaboration the Zurich-based eVTOL company aims to further develop its customer base, as well as secure transactions with launch customers for its Aero2 and Aero3 products, using Blueberry Aviation’s industry expertise and worldwide network of operators.
The latter boasts 20 years of experience in the commercial aircraft and helicopter markets and is ideally suited to support Dufour Aerospace in launching its aircraft and achieving its commercial goals.
Dufour Aerospace’s unique technology that combines tilted wing with hybrid energy gives the company an indisputable competitive edge to current helicopter technology and VTOL competitors.
The tilt-wing design of its aircraft family combines the ability to take off and land vertically, like a helicopter, with the efficiency and speed of a conventional aircraft, without the constraints and limitations of other eVTOL designs. With unparalleled range and speed, high payload and large access doors, Dufour’s Aero2 and Aero3 offer many assets for operators and end users seeking efficient and cost-effective sustainable technology.
The Aero2 is an electric-hybrid, remotely piloted aircraft with a payload of 40 kg (88.18 lbs) and a range of 400 km (216nm). The aircraft is due to be certification-ready in 2023 and enter into service in 2024. It is an ideal tool for surveillance and mapping activities, critical cargo delivery (high value goods or medical supplies such as blood, vaccines or organs), or public security applications like search and rescue and firefighting.
The Aero3 is pilot operated, has a maximum take-off weight of 2800kg (6173 lbs), a useable weight of 750kg (1653 lbs) with a cabin for up to 8 passengers, a cruise speed of 350 km/h (189 knots), and a range of 1020 km (551 nm). It is the ideal candidate for missions currently operated by helicopters, particularly EMS transport, SAR operations and surveillance. It will also create tremendous opportunities for airlines to attract new customers by feeding their current routes with legs from previously untapped areas with limited air services.
The aircraft is being designed to meet EASA’s SC-VTOL (Special Condition for VTOL) standards, making use of a hybrid-electric propulsion system to meet the requirements of operators in multi platforms. Aero3 is due to be certification ready in 2025with an entry into service in 2026.
“Over the past few years, we have screened the emerging eVTOL market and carried out an in-depth analysis of the many existing projects based on sustainability, economic and performance criteria. Dufour’s technology and products are unlike any other VTOL project being currently developed,” said Francois Gautier, Blueberry Aviation’s CEO. “The technology is tried and tested and certification for Aero2 is imminent. We are extremely proud to partner with a cutting-edge company like Dufour. Its management team is unique and very driven, and they have surrounded themselves with a team of incredibly skilled professionals with high-end engineering and aviation backgrounds. Our teams are totally on the same wavelength and are very excited to work together.” Thomas Pfammatter, Co-founder and CEO of Dufour Aerospace added: “We are pleased that such a respected company as Blueberry sees great potential in our products and is prepared to commit to them with full dedication. The competence and many years of experience of the Blueberry Aviation team impressed us from the first moment. As an aircraft developer and producer, we will benefit enormously from their experience in the market and gain access to an extraordinarily valuable network.”