Offshore helicopter operator Bristow Group has signed a memorandum of understanding with Overair that would help the eVTOL developer design, certify, and bring its Butterfly aircraft to market. Bristow has also pre-ordered up to 50 aircraft from Overair.
“Bristow’s decades of vertical lift experience will greatly enhance Butterfly’s path to commercialization,” said Ben Tigner, chief executive officer of Overair, in a press release. “Their operating insight, combined with our development and execution of the Butterfly program, will position Butterfly to serve Bristow as a valuable workhorse on high-density routes.”
The helicopter operator will use its more than seven decades of experience to advise Overair on the technical development and certification of the Butterfly eVTOL aircraft, which the company hopes to certify with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in 2025.
The Butterfly is a five-passenger piloted eVTOL aircraft that is targeting a range of 100 miles (161 kilometers) at top speeds of 200 miles per hour (322 kilometers per hour). The California-based eVTOL developer said the Butterfly’s low-noise profile, payload capacity, and ability to fly in all weather conditions will be suitable for Bristow’s high-density, noise sensitive routes in regions with a variety of environmental concerns.
“Our collaboration facilitates expansion into new high-density geographic markets with sustainable, innovative, and efficient vertical lift and aerial transport services,” said Chris Bradshaw, president and CEO of Bristow.
Bristow previously confirmed its interest in the advanced air mobility (AAM) market, which includes diversifying its fleet and exploring zero-emission commercial taxi flights using eVTOL aircraft. The partnership with Overair is the fourth deal that Bristow has signed with an AAM company — it previously entered into agreements with Embraer’s Eve Urban Air Mobility, Vertical Aerospace, and Electra.aero.