Wingcopter says it’s teaming up with German Airways to explore the use of drones in the delivery of spare parts to offshore wind farms. This development comes days after two Singapore-based firms announced their plans to produce offshore wind farm delivery drones that would operate at 90% lower costs than current methods that involve the use of boats or helicopters.
As part of this new deal, Zeitfracht Group, the parent company of German Airways, will purchase 17 Wingcopter 198 triple-drop delivery drones. The group will also be presented with an option to procure another 115 drones until 2023. The aircraft will finally be deployed offshore in the second half of 2024, once test flights prove satisfactory.
At the time of deployment, Wingcopter’s delivery drones would take off from the Rostock Airport, requiring to land with pinpoint accuracy on a moving ship. Wingcopter says it will work closely with German Airways to develop this technologically demanding feature.
From a regulatory standpoint, it helps that German Airways already holds an Air Operator Certificate to fulfill the requirement to operate Wingcopter’s delivery drones in the “specific category” and, later, in the “certified category.” In addition, German Airways is also IOSA-certified and thus operates according to the highest internationally agreed standards of the international aviation authority IATA.
Meanwhile, Wingcopters drones can carry a payload of up to 5 kg and, depending on the payload, can cover distances between 75 and 110 km. The aircraft come with enviable wind and weather resistance – a factor that can prove critical in offshore deployment.
While Zeitfracht CEO Wolfram Simon-Schröter insists “the time is now ripe for” the commercial use of drones, Wingcopter cofounder and CEO Tom Plümmer adds:
We are very pleased to have won Zeitfracht as a partner with extraordinary experience in the logistics and aviation sector. With the planned supply flights to ships and offshore wind farms, we will tap into a new, fast-growing field of application for which the Wingcopter 198 is ideally suited thanks to its high efficiency, even in extreme weather conditions. In addition, the test site and the close cooperation offer the opportunity to jointly develop further promising business areas.