Two Texas airports have turned to eVTOL aircraft developer Overair to help establish vertiports and other supporting infrastructure for advanced air mobility services in the heavily populated north-central region of the state. Under agreements announced on November 16, the California-based company will work to establish facilities at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and Arlington Municipal Airport.
The initiative signals the intention of local officials to position the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) metropolitan area as an early adopter of eVTOL aircraft alongside other major U.S. cities including Los Angeles, New York, and Miami. The joint study with Overair will assess demand levels and how best these can be addressed with the right infrastructure in place.
At DFW International, which is the second busiest commercial airport in the U.S., the focus will be on where to build a vertiport with charging facilities for electric aircraft, such as Overair’s six-seat Butterfly model. The working group for that site will address operational procedures, such as approach, landing, taxiing, and the loading and unloading of passengers.
The agreement with the City of Arlington sets the objective of establishing an operational vertiport at the municipal airport in time for the World Cup soccer tournament in 2026. The partners envisage flights to connect the city’s entertainment district; local attractions such as the Six Flags Over Texas theme park and Hurricane Harbor; and sports teams such as the Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Rangers.
“Today’s agreement is a major step toward bringing advanced air mobility to one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing metropolitan areas,” said Overair chief commercial officer Valerie Manning. “We look forward to working closely with DFW to ensure the more than eight million people living throughout this region, along with millions of visitors per year, will have easy access to safe, fast, affordable, and eco-friendly travel options.”
Butterfly eVTOL Prototype Approaches First Flight
Overair’s Butterfly design features four large tilting propellers that spin slowly in hover mode and even slower during cruise flight. According to the company, the design reduces power consumption and boosts its payload capacity while producing significantly less noise than helicopters and other eVTOL aircraft.
So far, Overair’s engineering team in Santa Ana has tested two subscale technology demonstrators, and it is now in the late stages of assembling the first full-scale Butterfly. Recently, the company mated the wing and fuselage before moving on to the tail and nacelles.
Overair plans to begin flight testing with the full-scale prototype in the first half of 2024 and it expects to have the aircraft certified and in commercial service in 2027. It has already received provisional orders from operators including HeliKorea.