EVTOL developer AutoFlight has announced the launch of a high-payload firefighting programme, and released a fully functional prototype.

With a maximum takeoff weight of two metric tons (MTOW), the firefighting model is designed to lift a 400kg payload over a distance of up to 200km and can reach speeds in excess of 200km/h.

It can transport four high-performance fire-extinguishing canisters, each weighing 100kg, with the capacity to extinguish fires covering up to 200 sq/m individually.

This means that in a single payload, the four canisters can collectively extinguish fires spanning up to 800 sq/m.

The firefighting model is based on the CarryAll, AutoFlight’s cargo eVTOL, for which Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) certification is expected by early 2024.

Kellen Xie, senior vice president of global sales and business development at AutoFlight, said: “Compared to existing fire-fighting Unmanned Aerial Vehicles available in the market, AutoFlight’s prototype has achieved significant breakthroughs in terms of load capacity, flight duration, coverage, flight efficiency and firefighting effectiveness.

“The initial demonstrations with potential customers received very encouraging feedback. We will now enter discussions with clients and development partners to evolve the prototype into product, including ground station and supporting systems.”

AutoFlight Olympics experiment

In June, AutoFlight and Groupe ADP, a world leader in airport operations, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to experiment with the  “Prosperity I” eVTOL from Pontoise Vertiport during the 2024 Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Under the MoU, AutoFlight will conduct experimental piloted flights from the Pontoise Vertiport, Europe’s most advanced airfield for sustainable air mobility.

Pontoise Vertiport offers a comprehensive infrastructure encompassing dedicated take-off and landing areas, a state-of-the-art passenger terminal, a fully equipped maintenance hangar, and advanced control areas.

As Groupe ADP is spearheading the development of eVTOL infrastructure in the Paris Region with five additional vertiports in the making (Paris heliport in Issy-les-Moulineaux, Paris Austerlitz, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Paris Le Bourget, Saint-Cyr l’Ecole), Pontoise offers the optimal setting to experiment AutoFlight’s cutting-edge eVTOL technology.
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