Friday, May 31, 2024

Manta, Avionord partner to develop eVTOL aircraft for medical transportation

Avionord, a private air transport company highly specialized in Medical Air Transport, and Manta Aircraft have entered into an agreement to develop a version of the Manta ANN platform for rapid Medical Air Transport services. Avionord has agreed to purchase as many as 15 units of Manta’s hybrid-electric long-range vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft while also becoming an investor for the Italian company.

Avionord operated a fleet of Learjet Bombardier and Leonardo AW109 helicopters for services that included rapid interventions to get medical personnel to accident scenes, human organ transportation, and executive charter flight. Now, the Milan-based transport company will work with Manta to investigate the potential for VTOL aircraft to be deployed in these missions.

The main feature that drew Avionord’s attention was the Manta ANN platform’s extensive range, which is useful for the missions to transport organs quickly for transplantation from one hospital to another, avoiding being dependent on airports and road transport. Equipped with a turbo generator and batteries, the ANN aircraft offers exceptional performance in terms of long endurance and range (recharging batteries en route), is fed with eco-fuel, and does not need ground recharge infrastructure.

The aircraft potentially offers a range of between 300 and 1000 km (186 to 621 miles) and a cruise speed of up to 300 km/h (186 mph). Also, it combines eVTOL and STOL (short takeoff and landing) capabilities, which means its infrastructure requirements are minimal. Moreover, the aircraft platform enables significant cost-saving and noise reduction compared to conventional helicopters.

The use of the innovative aircraft platform is planned above all in the area of special transports of organs for transplant, transport of equipment for re-perfusion of organs destined for transplantation, as well as for possible rapid-intervention operations.

Manta is working on the production of a range of performance-oriented hybrid-electric long-range vertical and short takeoff and landing air vehicles (heV/STOL) for regional air mobility. It plans to begin certification of the first two-seat, multi-purpose model ANN2 in 2023, while the hybrid-electric VTOLs with a medical configuration are set to be delivered by 2026.