V-STAR has plans to bring vertical take-off and landing aircraft (VTOL) to Australia for regional travel, aero-medical and search and rescue services, and commercial transportation.
While not new – VTOL technology has been used for decades in military aircraft such as the Harrier Jump Jet – V-STAR has contracts with overseas commercial operators to introduce aircraft that have the versatility of a helicopter with the range and speed of a traditional fixed wing plane to Australia.
Chief Executive Officer and Founder Tony Laws said the company had options to bring in a mixed fleet of what are also known as powerlift aircraft, including the Italian company Leonardo’s tilt-rotor AW609, the first commercially certified aircraft from Italy. its type worldwide.
“These new aircraft designs will change the way we approach regional travel and transport in Australia,” Laws said.
“Wherever we need to get people and equipment quickly and cheaply, these planes are coming in.”
Laws said V-STAR is also partnering with Swiss company Dufour Aviation, which will give the new company early access to Dufour’s next-generation aircraft, the Aero3, a hybrid-electric tilting aircraft.
Dufour is a world leader in electric aircraft propulsion systems and has applied its hybrid electric propulsion systems to the new aircraft designs.
Laws, a pilot with a background in search and rescue, said the Aero3 was perfect for emergency responders in Australia. The plane, which can hold a stretcher and two medics, can land on almost any helipad and is three times cheaper to run than a fixed-wing aircraft and ten times cheaper than a helicopter.
According to the laws, the hybrid-electric propulsion gives the 2800 kg aircraft a range of more than 1000 km and three hours of endurance.
Sascha Hardegger, Chief Commercial Officer of Dufour, said V-STAR Powered Lift Aviation is an Australian player that aims to provide a unique travel service to regional and metropolitan Australia, leveraging the versatility of powered lift aircraft.
“We are proud to be one of their chosen key manufacturers with an emergency service agreement for our Aero3,” said Hardegger.
V-STAR is also looking at the TriFan 600, developed by XTI Aircraft in the United States, a tilted aircraft that is an alternative to light business jets and rescue aircraft. It has a maximum speed of 600 km/h and a range of 500 km, much better than any helicopter.
Transport services with aircraft like the TriFan 600 would mean that V-STAR could offer 45-minute flights from Adelaide to Pt Lincoln for as little as $85, Laws said.
Adelaide was chosen for the V-STAR headquarters because Laws already has a relationship with helicopter service Helistar Aviation at Adelaide Airport, which would help initiate the pilot training and certification needed to introduce powerlift aircraft to Australia and the region.
Laws said they are also in talks with the government of South Australia about a trade delegation in 2023 to look at Australia’s first trials and the possibility of advanced manufacturing in Adelaide.
“South Australia’s climate, geography and infrastructure make it an ideal location for testing and potential production,” Laws said.
He said the Adelaide headquarters would eventually provide aircraft sales, a world-class training center, aircraft maintenance and support and the infrastructure, including regional landing sites and ports, needed to operate the aircraft across the country.