LCI’s investment in Elroy Air’s system underpins the Company’s long-term commitment to sustainable growth and innovation. Under the terms of the deposit-backed agreement, LCI will initially acquire 20 aircraft with an option for a total of up to 40 units. The VTOL aircraft are currently under development at Elroy Air’s facility in South San Francisco, California.
Elroy Air’s Chaparral is the first end-to-end autonomous VTOL cargo delivery system. It is designed for aerial transport of up to 500 lbs (225 kgs) of goods over a 300 nautical mile range. The system includes a turbine-based hybrid-electric powertrain with distributed electrical propulsion, and specially designed aerodynamic modular cargo pods. Applications include aerial cargo transport for commercial logistics, disaster relief, firefighting and humanitarian operations without risk to pilots or the need for airport infrastructure.
Jaspal Jandu, CEO of LCI, said: “This commitment for the pioneering Chaparral system will enable us to efficiently support mission critical, remote logistical work and socially responsible humanitarian efforts around the world. It will do so in complement with the wide-ranging capabilities of our existing aviation fleet. …We have been impressed with Elroy Air’s vision and approach and look forward to working closely with the team on a wide range of opportunities. This forms part of our wider advanced air mobility strategy and will strengthen LCI’s position as a leading provider of leasing, financing and investing solutions for this new and exciting market.” The new VTOL aircraft will complement LCI’s existing fleet of modern helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.
David Merrill, CEO and Co-Founder of Elroy Air, says: “We’re experiencing an enthusiastic response to the Chaparral and its capabilities to serve as a key part of a safe, efficient, and capable fleet of aircraft to respond in emergency situations, protect pilots, and enable rapid logistics in a new and sustainable way. LCI maintains a fleet of aviation assets that are leased to operators and end-users worldwide. Many are deployed on mission critical and socially responsible sectors such as Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Search and Rescue (SAR) and offshore wind energy.