Air Methods unveils Spright drone
By Naomi Szeben
Air Methods launched Spright, a newly formed drone solution, designed to help improve healthcare access and minimize supply challenges.
Collaborating with Wingcopter, a German drone manufacturer, Spright is creating a drone-based, healthcare-specific delivery network across the United States.
As a result of keeping healthcare costs down, Americans are impacted by a lack of immediate or timely access to healthcare resources. When these shortages impact the availability of blood products, medicines, diagnostics or small medical devices, the consequences can be dire. The solution is a flexible, rapid distribution network designed with 21st-century technology.
This new drone delivery network will improve access to urgently needed medical supplies for healthcare providers and the communities they serve. Air Methods makes this possible by deploying fleets of Wingcopter’s new flagship delivery drone, the Wingcopter 198. The team at Wingcopter has the proven technology and production capacity to enable Spright to create a nationwide network, built around Air Methods’ existing infrastructure of more than 300 bases, serving hundreds of hospitals, across 48 states in predominantly in rural areas.
“The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated some of the real challenges in our health care system creating an opportunity to find better solutions to extend access to healthcare, especially in rural America,” said JaeLynn Williams, CEO of Air Methods in a statement. “That is why we are doing what Air Methods does best, taking to the skies, using the latest in technology and drone innovation, delivering hope and facilitating healing with speed and efficiency that was previously unimaginable. We see Spright serving a vastly underserved market and playing a huge role in a future full of better outcomes for everyone.”
This fall, Spright will be kicking off this endeavour by partnering with Hutchinson Regional Medical System, in Hutchinson, Kan., for the launch of an initial pilot project using Wingcopter’s delivery drones. This project will provide a proof of concept of how this new and exciting venture can provide needed relief and certainty for medical resources in rural America. Spright will provide additional details on this initial project as the deployment draws near.
The Wingcopter 198 is a state-of-the-art autonomous eVTOL delivery drone that enables safe, reliable, fast, and bi-directional medical deliveries. It is designed to provide maximum flexibility and ease of use in operations. The company’s patented tilt-rotor technology allows for vertical take-off and landing, while also enabling efficient forward flight over long ranges, thus eliminating the need for additional infrastructure. The drone has a range of up to 68 miles (110 kilometres), a maximum speed of 90 mph (145 kilometres per hour) and can carry a payload of up to 13 lbs. (6 kg).