German logistic and aviation company Zeitfracht Group and its subsidiary German Airways have signed a joint letter of intent with German drone manufacturer Wingcopter to purchase 17 Wingcopter 198 delivery drones. The aircrafts are to be deployed from the second half of 2024, initially for offshore operations such as delivering spare parts to offshore wind farms.
The airline also acquired options to order an additional 115 drones in two further tranches by the end of 2023.
Wingcopter 198 delivery drones can carry a payload of up to five kilograms and can cover distances of 75-110 kilometers (47-68 miles), depending on the payload it has to transport. These electric eight-rotor flyers have a wingspan of 78″ (198 cm) and can reach a maximum speed of 150 km/h (93 mph).
German Airways selected Wingcopter’s delivery drones because of their extraordinary wind- and weather resistance and their globally leading payload-to-range ratio. They take off vertically, without requiring additional infrastructure, and then move forward horizontally in flight like a normal aircraft. In addition, the flying machines also contribute to zero-emission logistics thanks to their purely electric propulsion.
As the delivery drones must be able to land with pinpoint accuracy on a moving ship, their use will be technologically demanding. German Airways and Wingcopter will work closely together on the development of this feature. The drones will take off from Rostock Airport, which has also been part of the Zeitfracht Group since the beginning of the year. It offers the Wingcopter development team an ideal environment for extended test flights with its drones.