Elroy Air's Chaparral VTOL Cargo System Sees Explosive Demand, Tops 1,000 Units

Published: Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Elroy Air, the company developing an end-to-end autonomous hybrid-electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) cargo system, has announced the demand backlog for its Chaparral aircraft now exceeds 1,000 units.

The US-based unmanned cargo aircraft developer has previously secured commitments from partners in the commercial, defence and humanitarian markets including Mesa Airlines, Bristow, FedEx and Libra Group subsidiary LCI.

In September, it announced an agreement with Bristow for five Chaparral VTOL cargo drones, an expansion to Bristow’s letter of intent to preorder 100 Chaparral systems in July 2022.

“Over the past several years, we’ve seen tremendous excitement build about the Chaparral system and its applications. To surpass 1,000 aircraft demand this year is an incredibly exciting milestone,” said co-founder and chief executive Dave Merrill.

“We are so grateful for our partners who have joined us at the forefront of an emerging chapter for logistics. We look forward to delivering these aircraft to points around the globe for a range of uses including express commercial shipping, humanitarian aid and resupply for the US and allied forces.”

Elroy Air describes the Chaparral as a “lift plus cruise” hybrid-electric eVTOL cargo aircraft that leverages the benefits of electric propulsion and turbo-generation, for efficient autonomous operations and longer range missions.

Designed with an advanced carbon composite airframe, Chaparral can be configured to ship inside a standard 40 ft container or cargo aircraft such as a C-130 for rapid global deployment.

Elroy Air has introduced modular cargo pods that complement the Chaparral’s capabilities. The pods are pre-loaded by ground personnel and autonomously retrieved by the Chaparral aircraft before takeoff.

Upon arrival at the delivery location, the aircraft autonomously lowers the pod to the ground. The Chaparral aircraft then directly retrieves the next pod to maximise efficiency.