Ameriflight signs LoI for 35 Sabrewing VTOL drones
Ameriflight has signed an LoI for 35 VTOL drones from US regional UAV maker, Sabrewing Aircraft Company.
As the US’ largest Part 135 Cargo airline, Ameriflight’s president, Alan Rusinowitz said the operator is looking to the future and diversifying service areas. According to Sabrewing, its UAV, Rhaegal-A (aka Alpha), offers high-efficiency, all-weather operation with vertical takeoff and landing capabilities. Ameriflight expects to take delivery following type certification of the aircraft.
The Rhaegal-A purchase enables Ameriflight to enter into new business opportunities in distribution centre logistics, it said. The VTOL is capable of carrying over a ton of cargo to off-airport alternative landing zones. This will be a complementary service, not replacing Ameriflight’s current flying operation, aircraft, or pilots.
Ameriflight, president and COO, Alan Rusinowitz said: “In looking to the future, adding this advanced aircraft to our portfolio will complement our fleet and increase our assortment of assets, allowing us to expand our service areas through the development of warehouse distribution operations.”
With a payload capability of 2,000+ pounds, the Rhaegal-A is suited to the medium lift category operation. “Sabrewing’s record-setting technology guiding Rhaegal-A as the world’s first autonomous cargo aircraft capable of both vertical and conventional take-off is an incredible milestone, and we are excited to partner with them on this new fleet,” added Rusinowitz.
Rhaegal-A achieved its first hover flight in September 2022 while lifting a payload of 829lbs (376kg). Sabrewing is currently developing a production line, with first deliveries expected to take place in the first quarter of 2024.
The aircraft can be fuelled with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Whilst reducing carbon emissions by up to 80%, Sabrewing claim their aircraft can fly cargo between facilities four times faster than can be driven.
Ed De Reyes, CEO of Sabrewing, said: “We’re committed to developing advanced, versatile, and efficient air cargo solutions with our best-in-class Rhaegal aircraft that maximise on long range, payload capacity, and sustainable fuel efficiency to successfully deliver on a range of cargo missions. We’re excited to be at the forefront of autonomous innovation and to have Ameriflight at our side, with this new agreement marking the Alpha’s first American launch customer.”
This deal marks Ameriflight’s second agreement to purchase autonomous aircraft after having signed with Natilus last month on the purchase of its Kona aircraft. Currently under development, the Kona is a short-haul feeder uncrewed aerial vehicle with a 3.8ton payload.