With its purchase of a composite glider company DG Flugzeugbau, electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) heavyweight Volocopter has done more than expanded through acquisition. It has also taken a major step forward toward its goal of obtaining air taxi operating authorization from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
UAM tie-up brings manufacturing, regulatory benefits
Though the manufacturing benefits of the linkup should be substantial, the acquisition is also significant in making the pair the first to have obtained both production and design organization approval from the EASA. Those authorizations are among the largest hurdles that urban air mobility (UAM) companies must clear in producing craft, and ultimately using them in providing transport services. It’s purchase of DG Flugzeugbau – which should be completed by the end of summer – places Volocopter at the head of the pack striving to launch UAM businesses across Europe.
The move adds DG Flugzeugbau’s EASA Part 21G Production Organization Approval (POA) to Volocopter’s Design Organization Approval (DOA), which it attained with its Part 21J clearance in 2019 – thus far the only eVTOL company to do so. Those combined UAM administrative and regulatory authorizations represent major advantages DG Flugzeugbau-Volocopter enjoy over competitors.
Volocopter has already said it plans on initiating air taxi services in time for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. Its transaction – the value of which was not disclosed – brings that objective closer to hand.
New ties, longtime UAM partnership
The pairing also makes sense from a production point of view. DG Flugzeugbau has worked repeatedly with Volocopter in developing prototypes for VC200, 2X, VoloDrone, and VoloCity aircraft. DG Flugzeugbau has produced composite gliders since 1973, including the World Champion winner Red Bull Race craft.
“Our 10-year partnership with DG Flugzeugbau has been an extraordinary learning experience… (and) having this legendary industry leader on our side to kick-start scalable and affordable UAM for people and cargo has been a game changer,” said Volocopter CEO Florian Reuter. “Today marks an exciting milestone as we unify DG Flugzeugbau’s leadership in aviation production with Volocopter’s pioneering UAM goals to establish yet another crucial stepping-stone for our collective global endeavors.”
Under their agreement, DG Flugzeugbau’s aircraft production unit and EASA Part 21G POA will be integrated into Volocopter’s manufacturing and workshop teams. DG Flugzeugbau’s continuing glider production and maintenance contracts will be handled by a sister company that will be called DC Aviation. Both partners are located in the German city of Bruchsal.
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