Australian air transport group Aviation Logistics has ordered 10 of AMSL Aero’s Vertiia hydrogen fuel cell-powered eVTOL aircraft with an option for 10 more, the companies announced on Sunday. The deposit-backed order represents the first for the Sydney-based manufacturer, which has been collaborating with local aeromedical group CareFlight to develop rural and regional healthcare applications for eVTOL aircraft such as the Vertiia.
Aviation Logistics offers regional flights for passenger and cargo transport, as well as charter services and aeromedical flights, through subsidiaries such as Air Link, AirMed, and Chartair. The company says it plans to begin operating the Vertiia aircraft as early as 2027, pending type certification and other approvals. It has seven bases across Australia in Melbourne, Sydney, Dubbo, Brisbane, Alice Springs, Katherine, and Darwin, and also operates several aircraft maintenance facilities.
The single-pilot Vertiia aircraft is designed to carry up to four passengers or 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) of cargo. Configured for aeromedical operations, it can fit one patient on a stretcher with three medical personnel. It has a projected range of about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) and a cruising speed of 300 kph (190 mph). A full-scale, battery-electric prototype of the Vertiia aircraft began flight testing in February 2023.
“Vertiia is a versatile aircraft with multiple use cases that match Aviation Logistics’ demands for safe, efficient, fast, and reliable aircraft for its cargo, aeromedical, and passenger operations,” said AMSL chief engineering officer Andrew Moore. “Our partnership will allow us to collaborate on testing and development as we look towards certification and production.”
So far AMSL said it has raised more than A$50 million ($32 million) from private investors and government programs, including a recent AU$5.43 million ($3.45 million) grant it received from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency for the development of its hydrogen fuel cell powertrain.
According to Sydney-based AMSL, it is the first domestic eVTOL aircraft developer to obtain an experimental airworthiness certificate from Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), and the company aims to have the battery-electric Vertiia aircraft certified in 2026, followed by the hydrogen version in 2027. The battery-electric Vertiia will offer about one-quarter the range of the hydrogen version, about 250 kilometers (155 miles), on a single charge. AMSL is also contemplating future autonomous versions of the aircraft that would not require pilots on board.