Major helicopter operator Bristow Group has secured early delivery slots for the hybrid-electric eSTOL aircraft currently being developed by Electra.
The two companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) back in 2021, agreeing to a pre-order of 50 eSTOL aircraft. This order has now been firmed up with Bristow Group making a deposit payment for the first five of these aircraft.
Bristow is looking to supplement its rotary wing operation with Electra’s eSTOL aircraft. In addition to featuring hybrid-electric distributed propulsion technology with a relatively low carbon footprint, Electra’s aircraft will be able to operate from short runways (as short as 300 x 100ft). This will make it possible for Bristow to enter regional air transport markets at a fraction of the cost of operating a helicopter.
On November 11, 2023, Electra successfully completed the first flight of its two-seater Goldfinch prototype, a small-scale demonstrator, paving the way for the roll out of its future production eight-seater aircraft.
A previous version of this post stated, incorrectly, that Bristow Group had firmed an order for 50 aircraft. While there is a pre-order standing for 50 aircraft since 2021, only five aircraft have been firmed at the moment.