Switzerland-based Dufour Aerospace is establishing facilities in Montreal as it steps up development work for its Aero family of hybrid-electric tilt-wing eVTOL aircraft. The company said on April 6 that it has started to recruit software engineers in the Canadian aerospace hub to work on its Aero2 and Aero3 designs.
“Canada and Montreal have such a historic pedigree in both aviation and software engineering,” said Dufour CEO Thomas Pfammatter. “We were initially inspired by the Canadair Dynavert [CL-84], where Canadian engineers established the aerodynamic principles of tilt-wing flight and built prototypes with hundreds of hours of flight time.”
The larger Aero3 model will be piloted and be able to carry up to eight passengers or cargo on flights of up to around 1,020 km (637 miles) at a cruise speed of 350 km/h (218 mph). Dufour views it as an ideal replacement for helicopters involved in transportation services, as well as for roles like emergency medical support, search and rescue, and surveillance. It expects to complete EASA type certification in 2025 and start deliveries in 2026.
The smaller, remotely piloted Aero 2 will carry a payload of 40 kg (88.18 pounds) as far as 400 km (250 miles). Calling the Aero2 ideal for surveillance and mapping activities, critical cargo delivery, and public security activities such as search and rescue and firefighting, Dufour expects the vehicle to win certification in 2023 and enter service in 2024.
“Montreal boasts high-quality universities and a strong community of software engineers,” said Dufour CTO Jasmine Kent. “With a strong background in advanced software engineering, the local talent community is well qualified to help us build tomorrow’s fleet of air ambulances.”
Earlier this week, it was announced that global commercial aircraft and helicopter marketing specialist Blueberry Aviation plans to be a distributor for Dufour Aerospace. In a statement on April 4, Dufour said that Monaco-based Blueberry has agreed to acquire 100 examples of each of its Aero2 and Aero3 models.