Brazilian helicopter operator Helisul Aviation today placed an order for up to 50 of the four-passenger eVTOLs being developed by Eve Urban Air Mobility Solutions. This announcement comes six days after the Embraer subsidiary logged a separate order for up to 200 of its all-electric, lift-and-cruise model from Halo, the new urban air mobility service launched by business aviation group—and Directional Aviation division—OneSky Flight.
The first of the new aircraft are due to be delivered in 2026. Before then, Helisul and Eve plan to start proof-of-concept air taxi operations in Brazil using Helisul’s existing fleet of Airbus and Bell helicopters.
Though the partners have not specified where commercial operations will begin, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro would seem to be likely locations, given the high volume of helicopter services there. Without providing any further details, the announcement said Helisul and Eve intend “to evaluate how to co-create solutions for urban air mobility leveraging Brazil’s existing air-taxi infrastructure.”
The deal announced today is similar to that made with OneSky Flight last week. Its new Halo division incorporates helicopter operators UK-based Halo Aviation and Northeast U.S.-based Associated Aircraft Group.
Unlike, other UAM aircraft developers Eve does not appear to plan to be directly involved in eVTOL air taxi operations. The agreement with Helisul gives Eve one of the largest announced backlogs of orders of any eVTOL aircraft developer. In February, United Airlines signed an agreement to take up to 200 of Archer’s four-passenger eVTOL model in a deal provisionally worth up to $1.5 billion.
Helisul and Eve say they will start their collaboration by developing a UAM network design for the country, a well as laying the groundwork of eVTOL fleet operations, and determining how services will be provided. The companies believe that Brazil is well placed to be an early adopter for UAM services since it already has a mature air taxi market and very congested road traffic in its major cities.
"Our approach is human-centered and very collaborative," said a company spokesperson in a response to questions from FutureFlight. "The idea is to develop the solutions with the main stakeholders' participation necessary to create a future UAM ecosystem in Brazil that can scale safely. Helisul is a part of an Eve-led effort in Brazil to design a next-generation UAM experience where we will be developing, together with a broad group of local stakeholders, a proposed UAM operation that will serve as a reference for the market."
Eve Urban Air Mobility was established in 2020 as an offshoot from the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer’s EmbraerX technology incubator. It is working with fellow Embraer subsidiary Atech on air traffic management infrastructure to support eVTOL operations.
The company has not said when it intends to complete the construction of a full-scale prototype and start flight testing. In July 2020, Eve’s engineering team conducted some early “flight” testing in a simulator, and in October 2020 flew an early proof-of-concept model for the first time. This unit will be flown again later this year as the company's engineering team tests vehicle systems and works on systems integration, noise, and hover-flight characteristics.