Elroy Air, an autonomy and logistics company expanding vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aerial cargo systems, announced the successful completion of its first full-scale system flight test. The 1215 lb (551 Kg) prototype reached a height of 10 feet and hovered for 64 seconds before landing safely.
The test was completed at 9:14 AM PST on August 14th, 2019 at McMillan Airfield at Camp Roberts, CA in partnership with the Naval Postgraduate School. The aircraft was remotely piloted by the company’s lead test pilot.

VTOL cargo drone
The massive cargo drone by Elroy Air

VTOL

“Today is an important step toward the future of logistics,” said David Merrill, CEO of Elroy Air. “Since the earliest days of powered flight people have wanted to use the skies for convenient, rapid cargo transport to anywhere. The airport-dependence of traditional manned air cargo options shows that air cargo still has great opportunity to evolve! Autonomous VTOL cargo systems will make the dream of ultra-responsive logistics possible because they decouple air cargo from airports. These large cargo systems are about to become mainstream, and the Elroy Air team is leading the industry with our development of the Chaparral aerial cargo system.”

There has been a recent surge in companies trying to develop vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aerial mobility systems. Elroy Air, which differentiates in the development of such aerial cargo systems said its model is unique. Also, its hybrid-electric powertrain system allows long-range deliveries as well as speedy, unattended loading and unloading of cargo.

Their systems have also been requested to serve commercial, pharmaceutical, humanitarian aid, and disaster relief missions globally. The growing demand for rapid logistics is driving shippers to adapt to newer technology. This new wave of autonomy-enabled UAV transportation could prove to be a total gamechanger.
“Developing a robust VTOL system at this scale of payload is a challenging feat that requires the right team and resources,” said Clint Cope, VP of Engineering at Elroy Air.
The company has attracted a diverse and talented team with industry experience hailing from Uber, Google/X, Northrop Grumman, Scaled Composites, Skyryse, and Airbus. It also lured organizations from academic backgrounds such as Embry-Riddle, Rice, MIT, Georgia Tech and Stanford.