It’s a long way from Zurich to Oregon, but the Dufour Aerospace Aero2 X2.2 demonstrator aircraft recently made the trip. It’s another milestone on this journey with Dufour and U.S.-based drone operator Spright. The pre-production experimental drone was delivered this month to the United States.
The delivery was but one step in a journey that began apace in November 2022. Dufour fully flight-tested this particular aircraft, including full transition flights from hover to cruise. Earlier this summer, Dufour trained Spright pilots in Zurich, familiarizing them with the tilt-wing aircraft in a multi-week training activity, including both simulator sessions, real-world flights — and a healthy dose of Swiss chocolate and hospitality.
The aircraft was then meticulously and carefully packaged in Zurich and transported by cargo aircraft to the U.S. The delivery took place in Oregon and went according to schedule. After some small technical modifications, Spright will use the aircraft for demonstration flights.
“We were pleased to have our team train in Switzerland this summer, and following successful completion of the training, Dufour delivered the X2.2 demonstrator on time to Spright,” said Joe Resnik, President of Spright. “Our demonstration flights in the U.S. will be the first time the Aero 2 has flown outside of Switzerland, and our teams are confident in their ability to do so and demonstrate its capabilities.”
Said Thomas Pfammater, CEO of Dufour Aerospace: “The mark of a good aircraft is the ability for our test pilots to teach new pilots how to fly the aircraft, and for the later to have the confidence to fly it with their own hands. There’s no better partner than Spright and its team to have success.”
This is the first delivery milestone undertaken by Dufour, pursuant to the partnership agreement between Dufour and Spright in November 2022. That purchase is believed to be the largest purchase of civilian drones in U.S. history, with 40 firm orders for Aero2 with options for an additional 100 units.
With the successful delivery of the X2.2 aircraft to Spright, Dufour Aerospace’s focus has now turned to X2.3, the first hybrid-electric version of Aero2, which is already under construction. Aero2, scheduled for commercial market entry in 2025, is designed for the automated transport of critical cargo (40 kg over a distance of 400 kilometres) and a variety of remote sensing and public safety applications.