Hybrid-Electric Blown-Lift eSTOL Plane Developer Electra Acquires Airflow to Create a Leader in Advanced Air Mobility
BENTONVILLE, Ark., June 8, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Electra.aero, Inc. (Electra), a next-gen aerospace company with a mission to help decarbonize aviation and open new air transportation markets, announced today that it has acquired California-based Airflow.aero, Inc. (Airflow). The transaction, which closed on June 2, creates a powerful addition to the rapidly emerging advanced air mobility (AAM) market. The announcement was made at the UP.Summit, an annual gathering of leaders in transportation innovation hosted by investment firm UP.Partners.
Both Electra and Airflow have been building blown-lift, ultra-short takeoff and landing aircraft to serve new air mobility markets that favor the operating flexibility of a helicopter, yet require the superior range and economics of a fixed-wing aircraft.
With this acquisition, Electra is consolidating Airflow's eSTOL business under the Electra brand. Electra will integrate Airflow's highly experienced team, backlog of letters of intent and strategic partnerships into its own activities, which complement and strengthen Electra's portfolio and offer future customers more expansive and competitive options to meet future needs.
"The Airflow team and the Electra team both have deep experience in the development and testing of battery-powered aircraft. This experience convinced us that physics and the economics both strongly favor a solution that uses a wing throughout the full flight versus a rotor-borne vertical takeoff and transition. Distributed electric propulsion allows us to take off and land within two vehicle lengths to access parking-lot sized spaces," said Marc Ausman, co-founder and CEO of Airflow. "This solution offers not only lower costs but a much more straightforward path to certification than vertical lift variants. We look forward to continuing our mission to develop such a vehicle as part of the Electra team."
Electra's quiet, low-emissions eSTOL aircraft is currently designed to transport nine passengers and a pilot or 1800 pounds of cargo up to 500 miles in all weather conditions. Electra's technology delivers 2.5x the payload and 10x longer range at 70% lower operating costs than vertical takeoff alternatives.
"There are dozens of aspiring entrants in the AAM market. The acquisition of Airflow complements Electra's team, our sales pipeline, and technology portfolio which will allow customers to select the best solution to their needs in a rapidly expanding market," said John Langford, founder and CEO of Electra. "Marc Ausman is an incredibly talented individual, and the Airflow team is experienced and motivated, and share our mission and culture. This acquisition will allow Electra to grow and scale more quickly."
The acquisition places Electra's order book at almost 800 units, beyond break-even for commercial development. When used with sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), Electra's first-generation, hybrid-electric system offers a carbon-neutral aviation solution, burning a third less fuel than conventional aircraft. Airflow's strategic partnership with Plug Power (NASDAQ: PLUG) adds a next-generation, zero-emissions solution to Electra's portfolio.
Electra and Airflow are both privately held and terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Airflow was founded in 2019 by five former Airbus Vahana team members to bring eSTOL capabilities to the passenger and middle-mile logistics market. The team is passionate about expanding aviation's benefits to the world and has deep experience in aerospace and technology development. The founding team's background includes Airbus, Eclipse Aviation, Northrop Grumman, Uber Elevate, Airware, and Scaled Composites.
Electra.aero, Inc. is a next-gen aerospace company leading the way in sustainable urban and regional mobility. The company is building clean, hybrid-electric, ultra-short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) airplanes that fly people and cargo quieter, further, and more affordably. Electra's team includes some of the most respected and successful entrepreneurs and engineers in novel aircraft design, and its technology development is supported by NASA, US Air Force, and a coalition of private investors.
Hosted by mobility investment firm UP.Partners, the UP.Summit has become known as the "Davos of Mobility". UP.Summit is an invitation-only gathering of the world's most innovative minds working together to Transform the Moving World. Leaders of the most impactful companies moving people and goods gather each year with the goal of accelerating progress toward cleaner, faster, safer, and lower cost mobility solutions on the ground, in the air, over the oceans, and in space. The UP.Summit was founded in 2017 and is jointly organized by UP.Partners, Tom and Steuart Walton, and Ross Perot Jr, rotating between Bentonville, AR and Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX each year.
Transportation is the underlying fabric of society. With a mission of Transforming the Moving World, UP.Partners invests in the pioneering entrepreneurs who are creating technologies that help move people and goods cleaner, faster, safer, and lower cost -on the ground, in the air, over the oceans, and in space. UP.Partners joins with some of the world's most innovative investors and companies including Alaska Airlines, ARK Invest, and Woven Capital, the investment arm of Toyota subsidiary Woven Planet Group. UP.Summit convenes the mobility community's brightest minds each year to help humanity go UP. Together, the UP community is transforming the moving world. For more information, visit UP.Partners or follow on Twitter @UpPartnersVC or LinkedIn.
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SOURCE Electra Aero