Samad Aerospace has started the type certification process for its remotely-piloted eStarling Cargo aircraft. The UK company says it is now taking orders for the all-electric vehicle and expects to start deliveries during the fourth quarter of 2022.
The freight-carrying eVTOL, designated as the S5M, is a scaled-down version of the company’s hybrid-electric eStarling five-passenger aircraft. It will have a payload of 50 kg (110 pounds), range of up to 135 miles, and a cruise speed of 95 mph.
The company is also working on hybrid-electric version of the eStarling Cargo that would have a 100 kg payload and range of around 150 miles. The airframe for both types is identical, with the increased payload and range supported by the use of a turbogenerator to work in tandem with electric motors.
According to Samad founder and CEO Seyed Mohseni, companies from several different sectors have shown interest in using the eStarling Cargo vehicle. These include oil and gas companies, gemstone mining operations, medical logistics groups, and emergency response agencies.
Earlier this year, Samad started flight testing the eStarling Cargo at its headquarters at Cranfield Airport in central England. Further flight trials to support certification efforts are projected to start in late 2021 or early 2022.
Meanwhile, Samad says it now holds letters of intent to purchase 119 eStarlings, with each prospective customer placing a $300,000 deposit, amounting to 5 percent of the $6 million total price. It has completed initial hover testing of the passenger-carrying vehicle and has validated the flight control system for that model, including the autopilot.
The eStarling features a blended wing body design and its turbogenerator can run on sustainable aviation fuel. Samad says it will offer a range of up to 800 miles and have a cruise speed of 300 mph.
Initially, Samad says it is seeking type certification from the UK Civil Aviation Authority. It has not said how it intends to seek approval for the European market through EASA, or from the FAA in the U.S. Since the UK left the European Union last year, it is no longer part of EASA's jurisdiction and the CAA does not yet have reciprocal approval arrangements with either the European agency or the FAA.