Leasing company LCI is adding Elroy Air and its autonomous vertical take-off and landing cargo aircraft to its portfolio of aircraft and helicopters. Under the terms of the deposit-backed agreement, LCI will initially acquire 20 aircraft with an option for a total of 40 units. The ADAVs are currently under development at the facilities of Elroy Air, a start-up with a staff of about 40 in South San Francisco, California.
40 Chaparral for LCI
LCI, a company involved in leasing and a subsidiary of the Libra Group, has signed an agreement with Elroy Air, a developer of advanced autonomous cargo aircraft systems, to acquire up to 40 of the company's Chaparral vertical takeoff and landing (ADAV or VTOL) aircraft. Under the terms of the deposit-backed agreement, LCI will initially acquire 20 aircraft with an option for a total of 40 units. The ADAVs are currently under development at the facilities of Elroy Air, a startup with a staff of about 40 employees in South San Francisco, Calif.
An autonomous VTOL
The Chaparral is the first end-to-end autonomous vertical takeoff and landing cargo delivery system. It is designed to airlift up to 225 kg of cargo over a distance of 300 nautical miles (about 555 km). An initial prototype of the Chaparral flew in 2019, demonstrating several key systems in the aircraft's design. The Chaparral system features eight blowers for vertical takeoff and landing sequences, four distributed electric thrusters for level flight, a high-wing configuration. The Chaparral is a lift + cruise transition VTOL aircraft with an all-carbon composite airframe and a hybrid-electric turbine powerplant for long-range missions. It has also been designed to fit into a 40-foot shipping container or C-130 cargo aircraft, allowing it to be rapidly shipped and deployed anywhere in the world. Its applications include airlifting cargo for commercial logistics, disaster relief, firefighting and humanitarian operations, with no risk to pilots and no need for airport infrastructure.
Complementing Current Fleet
The new autonomous vertical takeoff and landing aircraft will complement LCI's existing fleet of modern helicopters and aircraft. In addition, LCI and its parent company, the Libra Group, whose subsidiaries own and operate assets in approximately 60 countries, plan to share their commercial, financial and end-use expertise with Elroy Air through established industry networks.
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