Thursday, April 18, 2024

Connova AG to supply composite airframe for Dufour Aerospace’s Aero2

Dufour Aerospace has selected Connova AG as the main supplier for the composite airframe of the uncrewed tilt-wing aircraft Aero2. The major sub-assemblies of the main airframe wing, fuselage, and engine bay will be produced by Connova AG at their production site in Villmergen (Aargau), Switzerland.

The Swiss startup introduced the Aero2 concept in 2021. The uncrewed aerial vehicle specifically is designed for the transportation of critical cargo, such as medical supplies of up to 40 kilograms (88 pounds), in medium to long-range distances. Its unique design makes it instantly recognizable among other drones and crewed eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft.

The aircraft features an uncommon tilt-wing design that combines the advantages of both fixed-wing aircraft and rotorcraft. The machine can take off and land like a helicopter and claims to offer the high performance and low operating costs of conventional airliners.

The key contributor to the superior performance of Aero2 is its all-composite lightweight airframe. Connova’s long-lasting experience in designing and producing demanding aerospace-grade composite structural components for customers makes Connova so valuable for the program. It has also used them with great success for conventional aircraft, such as the Swiss Pilatus.

“Connova has a wealth of experience and knowledge as an established composite manufacturer in the aerospace and automotive industry,” says Simon Bendrey, Head of Design at Dufour Aerospace, about this new partnership. “In making the wings for Dufour’s current Aero2 experimental flight test aircraft to a new patent pending design and manufacturing method, Connova has demonstrated the diligence and professionalism required to assure the high standards of quality necessary to deliver lightweight aircraft structures. Working together, I am confident that we can achieve the build standards expected of our regulators and customers and look forward to a successful future together.”

The partnership with Connova is intended to last for many years to come and not only for the first four vehicles that have been contracted for now.

The first product Dufour Aerospace will launch is the Aero2. The Swiss startup recently unveiled more details about the Aero2 design. The upgraded version evolved from a conventional tail to an H-tail with a larger fuselage and wingspan and a wing profile optimized for its likely missions.

The manned Aero3, featuring a spacious cabin with eight seats and large doors, is the next aircraft in development by Dufour Aerospace.