A company in Adelaide, Australia, called V-STAR is all set to bring vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft to Australia for regional travel, aeromedical and search and rescue services, and commercial transport.
VTOL technology has been around and was used in military planes like the Harrier Jump Jet for decades. The VTOL aircraft has the versatility of a helicopter with the range and speed of a traditional fixed-wing aircraft. V-STAR has contracts with overseas commercial operators to introduce VTOL to Australia.
In this context, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Founder Tony Laws stated that the company wanted to bring in a mixed fleet, which included the tilt-rotor AW609 from Italian company Leonardo, which is the first commercially certified aircraft of its type. He said these new aircraft designs are expected to change how they approach regional travel and transport in Australia. He added that anywhere they need to get people and equipment quickly and cheaply is where these airplanes are expected to come in.
Laws highlighted that V-STAR was in partnership with Swiss company Dufour Aviation. The partnership will give the new venture early access to Dufour’s next-generation aircraft, the Aero3, a hybrid-electric (tilt-wing) plane. Dufour, a world leader in aircraft electric propulsion systems, has applied its hybrid electric power systems to the new aircraft designs.
Laws stated that the Aero3 was ideal for emergency services in Australia. The plane could accommodate two medics and have a stretcher. Plus, it can land on almost any helipad and is three times cheaper to operate than a fixed-wing plane. Moreover, it is ten times cheaper than a helicopter.
Dufour’s Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) Sascha Hardegger said V-STAR Powered Lift Aviation is an Australian player that aspires to bring a unique travel service to regional and metropolitan Australia while utilising the versatility of powered lift aircraft. Hardegger stated that they were proud to be one of their chosen key manufacturers with an agreement for our Aero3 in the field of emergency services.
Adelaide had an edge when picked for the V-STAR headquarters – Laws already had a relationship with helicopter service Helistar Aviation at Adelaide Airport. The relationship would help start pilot training and certification needed to introduce power lift aircraft into Australia.
Laws stated that South Australia’s climate, geography, and infrastructure make it an ideal location for testing and potential manufacturing. He said the Adelaide headquarters would eventually provide aircraft sales, a world-class training centre, aircraft maintenance and support, and the infrastructure needed to operate the aircraft across the country.