Airflow Unveils eSTOL Cargo Concept

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Urban Air Mobility (UAM) startup Airflow introduced its new electric short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) cargo vehicle concept on Wednesday. According to the company, the unnamed fixed-wing aircraft will require less than 150 feet to take off and land and will be capable of carrying up to 500 pounds of cargo. The single-pilot eSTOL is aimed at the middle-mile logistics market and is expected to have a range of 250 miles plus reserves.

“The demand for same-day e-commerce continues to rise, and we’re building a new low-cost aerial capability to enable that growth,” said Airflow co-founder and CEO Marc Ausman. “Our approach from the beginning is to focus on a simple aircraft design with well-defined new technology. In doing so, the team believes development and certification costs will be approximately $200MM versus more than $700MM for an eVTOL aircraft, making for more efficient use of capital.”

Airflow says it intends to pursue certification for its eSTOL aircraft under Part 23 regulations. The company is targeting 2025 for the start of production. Based in California, Airflow was founded in 2019 by a group of five former members of Airbus’ Vahana eVTOL team.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. 500lb useful load and a single pilot weight allowance of 250lbs, using the artist rendering as a starting point with all those leading edge engines for that 150ft take off capability…it looks like an airplane with the approximate all around dimensions of Cessna Skymaster. That means a light wing loading. Sort of an LSA version of a cargo hauler.

    While that seems feasible from a purely aerodynamic prospective, it will be interesting to see how weather, turbulence, and pilot workload ( meaning not only nav, communications duties)…but flying a light-plane in a commercial all weather operation will be handled. This will not be a launch into the flight levels above the weather. Instead it will be a single pilot operation not much different than a pipeline flying although a bit higher. For small 250nm or less destinations, seems to me these airplanes will be flown primarily at 2000-5000 feet levels making for some bumpy, uncomfortable flights. I would imagine the initial launch of these airplanes will be using local airports already in existence. Sort of a FedEx “light” version of a Caravan. I wonder how the FAA will handle the commercial ratings requirements? Type rating in electric powered airplanes weighing 1320-3000lbs for commercial use?

    Somebody has got to be first to force the regulations required for a very light, electric powered cargo hauler for relatively low level, all weather ops with very short flights including lots of takeoffs and landings. Looks like back to stick and rudder skill training plus button pushing.