American airline to purchase cargo drones

Middle distance cargo drones may be the latest phenomenon on the delivery drone market, but it seems they are here to stay.

After early noises made by cargo drone pioneering manufacturers like EHang, Volocopter and Drone Delivery Canada, it seemed like Bulgarian company Dronamics would actually be the one to get their cargo unmanned aircraft into the European skies on a full commercial basis.

But now it seems another rising cargo enterprise will give them a good run for their money – at least in the USA.

Cargo airline Ameriflight has just announced that it will be purchasing 35 vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) air cargo drones from Sabrewing Aircraft Company Inc, a US corporation that designs and produces a new generation of regional cargo UAV that has capabilities for high-efficiency, all-weather operation.

The cargo company will be purchasing the Rhaegal-A cargo drone, also known as “Alpha”, which is one of the world leading in-class, highest fuel and maintenance efficiency cargo UAV on the market.

Ameriflight expects to take delivery following type certification of the aircraft by the aviation authority.

“In looking to the future, adding this advanced aircraft to our portfolio will complement our fleet and increase our assortment of assets, allowing us to expand our service areas through the development of warehouse distribution operations,” said Ameriflight President and COO Alan Rusinowitz.

“With a payload capability of 2,000+ pounds, the Rhaegal-A is perfectly suited for the medium lift category operation. Sabrewing’s record-setting technology guiding Rhaegal-A as the world’s first autonomous cargo aircraft capable of both vertical and conventional take-off is an incredible milestone, and we are excited to partner with them on this new fleet.”

In a statement, Ameriflight said the Sabrewing partnership and Rhaegal-A purchase will enable former to enter into new business opportunities in distribution centre logistics. Using the VTOL capabilities to carry over a ton of cargo to off-airport alternative landing zones, the new cargo aircraft will allow Ameriflight to aid customers in developing a faster and more efficient warehouse distribution network.

However, the company was keen to stress that the cargo drones will be a complementary service; they will not replace the company’s current flying operation, aircraft, or pilots. The company added that its goal is to build diversified aviation services, and this fits well with that vision.

“We’re committed to developing advanced, versatile, and efficient air cargo solutions with our best-in-class Rhaegal aircraft that maximize on long range, payload capacity, and sustainable fuel efficiency to successfully deliver on a range of cargo missions,” explained Ed De Reyes, CEO of Sabrewing.

“We’re excited to be at the forefront of autonomous innovation and to have Ameriflight at our side, with this new agreement marking the Alpha’s first American launch customer.”

The Alpha drone first achieved its hover flight in September last year while lifting a record-setting payload of 829 pounds (about 376kg). it uses sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), which reduces carbon emissions by up to 80 percent, while maintaining the efficiency to fly cargo between facilities at four times the speed of road transport.

It can also land in locations other aircraft cannot, eliminating the added cost of airport transfer of cargo.

Sabrewing has already started production on the Alpha drones, with first deliveries expected to take place in the first quarter of 2024. The new fleet will be used to support Ameriflight’s new business opportunities, primarily for its expedited supply chain services.

It seems the cargo company is serious about branching into unmanned aircrafts systems of the cargo type; this is the company’s second agreement to purchase autonomous aircraft after having signed with Natilus just last month on the purchase of its Kona aircraft, a 3.8-ton payload, short-haul feeder uncrewed aerial vehicle.


Leave a Comment


Welcome! Login in to your account

Remember me Lost your password?

Lost Password