Thursday, February 9, 2023

Pipistrel’s hybrid-electric UAVs gearing up for green humanitarian missions

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Lobo Leasing and Air Taurus Limited, the Irish Group affiliate of humanitarian logistics specialist AYR Logistics Limited (AYR), have entered into a letter of intent to lease five Pipistrel Nuuva V300 hVTOL unmanned cargo aircraft. The companies will cooperate in developing a leasing model for the new asset class.

Earlier this year, Lobo Leasing entered an LOI with Pipistrel for 15 Nuuva V300 aircraft. These autonomous eVTOLs combine the benefits of autonomous cargo deliveries with an increased range.

The LOI is aligned with the Nuuva V300 development program and targets delivery of the first units to Air Taurus between 2025 and 2026. Therefore, the transaction brings together a lessor order position for a new technology hVTOL aircraft with a lease to a customer.

Air Taurus will deploy the Nuuva V300 aircraft in AYR’s global humanitarian operations. The Nuuva V300 is being designed as a sustainably powered cargo solution using a hybrid propulsion system, including electric motors for vertical lift and a fuel-efficient FADEC IC power plant for cruise flight.

The NUUVA V300, currently under development at the Slovenia-based company with facilities in both Slovenia and Italy, takes off and lands using eight independent battery-powered Pipistrel E-811 electric engines, already Type Certified. This revolutionary zero-emission powertrain is entirely liquid-cooled, including the batteries, and has demonstrated the ability to withstand faults, battery thermal runaway events, and crash loads.

The aircraft is planned to have a cruise speed of approximately 120 knots (138 mph) with a cargo capacity of up to 300 kg and a maximum range of 300 km (186 miles) with reserves. After lift-off, the Nuuva V300 flies fully autonomously, controlled by a highly reliable, triple-redundant Flight Control System provided by Honeywell.

“This marks an important step forward in our plans to introduce unmanned aircraft to the humanitarian sector. We are grateful to Lobo Leasing for their support and the shared vision we have for the humanitarian application of unmanned aircraft,” said Stephen Lyons, Chief Development Officer at AYR.

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