Israel’s Urban Aeronautics announced it has signed a memorandum of understanding with U.S.-based Hatzolah Air to develop its CityHawk VTOL aircraft for emergency medical services (EMS) use.
The six-seat CityHawk concept is based on Urban Aeronautics’ Fancraft technology, which is already flying in its Cormorant unmanned aerial vehicle prototype, targeted at military applications. The CityHawk as currently designed relies on hybrid propulsion, but Urban Aeronautics recently announced an agreement with HyPoint to explore development of an advanced version powered by HyPoint’s hydrogen fuel cell stack technology.
Now, said Urban Aeronautics CEO Rafi Yoeli, “We are excited to partner with Hatzolah Air on the development of our CityHawk EMS vehicle. Its compact size will enable it to land in the middle of a busy city street, making it a perfect fit for medical evacuation missions by dramatically decreasing the time it takes to arrive on-scene, treat and transport sick or injured patients to appropriate medical facilities.”
Hatzolah Air is the aviation division of Hatzolah, an EMS organization founded more than 50 years ago with divisions around the world. It currently operates fixed-wing aircraft for Hatzolah’s urgent and emergent missions as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
According to a press release, Urban Aeronautics’ engineers will work closely with Hatzolah’s experts to tailor the CityHawk to their operational requirements. The aircraft will accommodate a pilot, patient, companion, two medical personnel, and a complete package of life support equipment.
Hatzolah Air will also be taking a leadership role in the marketing of CityHawk to other EMS and rescue organizations worldwide under a distribution agreement with Urban Aeronautics. “Based on our initial estimates, we foresee a potential market of at least 800 CityHawks for Hatzolah and other EMS operators, with the possibility to save thousands of lives every year,” stated Hatzolah Air president Eli Rowe.
The agreement is being supported by Besadno Group, an Israeli-American investment firm that is one of the largest investors in Urban Aeronautics. The company said it aims to complete development of the EMS variant of the CityHawk and achieve certification from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration “within three to five years.”
Urban Aeronautics also has an agreement with the Singapore-based company Ascent to accelerate commercialization of the CityHawk for urban air mobility missions.