Aviation

Bristow expands eVTOL aircraft fleet plans thanks to Lilium deal

Helicopter operator Bristow is ramping up its expansion into the emerging advanced air mobility (AAM) market with an agreement announced on Monday covering options for 50 seven-seat eVTOL Lilium aircraft. The US group has already made commitments to three other eVTOL developers, including Vertical Aerospace, Eve and Overair, as well as Electra’s new eSTOL model and Elroy Air’s Chapparal autonomous cargo air vehicle.

Under a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Germany’s Lilium, Bristow will provide maintenance support for Lilium Jets on the manufacturer’s planned scheduled service network in Florida. The operator, which currently provides helicopter flights for the offshore oil and gas industry and for missions such as search and rescue, may also provide support for passenger eVTOL services in other markets in the US and Europe.

With a Part 145 maintenance certificate and multiple air carrier certificates, Bristow will also help Lilium obtain the necessary operating permits. It will be an authorized service provider for other operators of the all-electric Lilium Jet.

Given that all of its previous purchase agreements in the AAM sector remain temporary, it remains to be seen whether Bristow will add all the various new aircraft types to its fleet, or whether it needs time to assess which one best suits its needs. An announcement from Lilium said the completion of the purchases is subject to final clarification of commercial terms and “the fulfillment of certain conditions.”

From August 2021, the operator has agreed to take up to 100 Eve four-passenger eVTOL aircraft, up to 50 Vertical Aerospace VX4 aircraft and up to 50 Overair’s Butterfly aircraft. It also signed agreements covering up to 50 seven-seater eSTOL Electra aircraft and the same number of Chapparals.

“Using our more than seventy-year heritage of innovative and sustainable vertical flight to partner with companies like Lilium to usher in a new era of vertical flight solutions is a cornerstone of Bristow’s future operational prospects,” said Bristow President and CEO Christopher Bradshaw. . “Bristow has played a key role in the successful introduction of several new VTOLs [aircraft] platforms for the past fifty-plus years, so it is a natural evolution for us to take a leadership role in the new and exciting AAM market and lend our expertise to innovative and dynamic companies like Lilium.”

Lilium expects to receive EASA type certification in 2025. The piloted Lilium Jet will fly a range of 155 miles and reach speeds of up to 275 miles per hour. The manufacturer suggests that it can increase the design for a version that will hold 10 to 15 seats.

https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/business-aviation/2022-07-18/bristow-expands-evtol-aircraft-fleet-plans-lilium-deal Bristow expands eVTOL aircraft fleet plans thanks to Lilium deal

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