Bristow, Overair Partner On Butterfly eVTOL

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Bristow Group has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Overair to collaborate on the development of commercialization plans for Overair’s Butterfly electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft design. According to the companies, they will work together on areas including vehicle design considerations, key performance parameters, FAA certification, configuration and maintenance protocols, infrastructure, ground support operations and government affairs and promotion of eVTOL operations. As part of the agreement, Bristow has preordered 20 Butterfly eVTOLs with an option for 30 additional aircraft.

“Our collaboration facilitates expansion into new high-density geographic markets with sustainable, innovative and efficient vertical lift and aerial transport services,” said Bristow President and CEO Chris Bradshaw. “As the global leader in vertical lift, Bristow’s operational expertise and efficiency, supported by the trust and confidence of our customers, can safely bring eVTOL aircraft into the market.”

Overair says the Butterfly will seat five passengers “with cargo.” It is expected to have a range of up to 100 miles and top speed of 174 knots. The company is aiming to fly the design for the first time in 2023 with the goal of receiving its FAA type certification in 2025.

Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Since there’s no eVTOLs to compare with I’ll compare this to one of the latest production electric vehicle. The Rivian mid-size pickup truck weighs 8000 pounds and took over ten years to get to market after the first prototype. This eVTOL is another computer drawn photograph that is going to be commercially carrying passengers in 4 years. Futurity for the Bristow/Overair Group the FAA are all pushovers and will stamped out an Airworthiness Certificate in their spare time.

  2. “Our collaboration facilitates expansion into new high-density geographic markets“

    What markets? If there were markets for helicopter service then there would already be helicopter service operating. Since they are stacking the hope on new batteries plus the hope for a new market, I agree with Klaus that it’s just a neat CGI image that grossly underestimates the time required for real design and certification.

  3. Another of the semi-weekly electric VTOL aspiration announcements, triggering yet another upwelling of bemusement. In the face of virtually universal agreement by battery experts that there is no apparent path to providing the order-of-magnitude improvement in energy density needed to make these things practical, what is it that impels investors to continue investing in them?

    • I hope it’s just too much optimism. Luckily, there are people with too much optimism or we’d have much fewer nice things. Seriously, think of the Klapmeiers. I’m no big fan of the Cirrus, but if they were realists we’d not have the Cirrus at all. How many years would it take for the chutes to become common equipment without Cirrus?

      Of course, some people have much too much optimism. They produce nice pictures, and no nice planes. Somewhere along the line, Cirrus made nice pictures I bet.

      • Chutes were commonplace on ultralights. Cirrus adapted them with mixed results. I agree that “realists” would not add the cost if installation and maintenance of ballistic chutes but marketing people seem to have won out.

    • $10K plus for refresh AND add weight, cost, and have less than 50/50 effectiveness.

      If you have an engine problem in the Cirrus you have 2 options: wasted the airplane by pulling the chute or waste the airplane by landing successfully (and then sawing the wings off to truck the plane out).

      • I’m not a guy who thinks the market is faultless, nor do I believe our market in flying machines does anything other than resemble a free market at times.

        Yet, Cirrus has sold more new planes than anyone else for awhile now. The former leader, Cessna, hasn’t even responded. Diamond makes a lot of great models, but is now owned by the ChiComs and will likely stop making new offerings.

        Beat up the design all you like. I’m not a fan either. Still, watch your tone because they are winning and you are just sounding like muppets interrupting the show from a box next to the stage.