January 25, 2022 ByHelicopters Staff
German drone delivery pioneer Wingcopter and Spright, a subsidiary of Air Methods, one of the largest air medical service providers in the United States, signed a commercial agreement on Jan. 24 worth more than US$16 million.
As part of the deal, Spright is acquiring a large fleet of Wingcopter’s new flagship delivery drone, the Wingcopter 198, to meet what the company describes as the increasing demand for medical drone delivery solutions throughout the United States, which is also a growing trend in Canada.
The contract makes Wingcopter the exclusive provider of fixed wing eVTOL delivery drone technology to Spright for use within its United States operations. Spright, in turn, becomes the exclusive provider of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) for the Wingcopter 198 to third parties in the United States.
“This multi-million-dollar commercial agreement with Spright is a clear proof that the Wingcopter 198 has a perfect product-market-fit,” said Tom Plümmer, Co-founder and CEO of Wingcopter. “We are proud to enable large-scale drone delivery across the United States with this strong partnership. The projected compound annual growth rate for the drone delivery market of more than 50 per cent to a total volume of almost US$40 billion in 2030 underlines the rapid adoption of eVTOL technology for last-mile logistics.”
Spright was launched in July of 2020 as the new drone division of Air Methods to improve what the company describes as healthcare access and to minimize supply challenges. To this end, Spright is creating a drone-based, healthcare-specific delivery network in the United States leveraging an existing infrastructure of more than 300 bases, serving hundreds of hospitals, across 48 states in predominantly rural areas.
The agreement strengthens a strategic partnership between the two companies that was announced in August 2021. Spright is closely supporting Wingcopter in its FAA UAS type-certification process, leveraging the Spright team’s aviation experience operating both FAA 121 and 135 air carriers, its existing Part 135 certificate (on-demand air service), SMS (Safety Management System) Program, and long-standing relationships with the FAA.
Spright is collaborating with Hutchinson Regional Health System, in Hutchinson, Kansas, for initial tests, and plans to expand the service beyond Kansas with additional strategic medical projects later this year.
The Wingcopter fleet will increase healthcare access across rural and underserved communities, explains the company, by enabling the on-demand delivery of vital medical supplies, medications, vaccines, blood, and lab samples, between medical facilities. “We are fortunate to have Wingcopter on board as our aircraft technology partner. With their industry-leading eVTOL aircraft design, Wingcopter brings a level of maturity needed to address the complex and diverse demands of the US healthcare market,” said Joseph Resnik, President of Spright.