German drone delivery pioneer Wingcopter and Spright, a subsidiary of leading American air medical service provider Air Methods, announced a new commercial agreement today 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 the increasing demand for medical drone delivery solutions throughout the United States. 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 USA, an ideal fit thanks to its available infrastructure across the country.
Spright was launched in July of 2020 as the new drone division of Air Methods to improve healthcare access and minimize supply challenges for customers across the US. 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 further strengthens the 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 extensive 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 by enabling the instant and on-demand delivery of vital medical supplies, medications, vaccines, blood, and lab samples, between medical facilities. It will also improve quality of care for patients due to faster turn-around time of lab samples and more targeted treatments for patients. Finally, the electrically powered Wingcopter cargo drones will reduce the medical industry’s carbon footprint, contributing to greener and more sustainable supply chains with faster and more predictable delivery times.
Joseph Resnik, President of Spright, comments, “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. We are confident that our combined strengths will deliver innovative, time-saving solutions to meet the needs of our customers and their communities.”
Tom Plümmer, Co-founder and CEO of Wingcopter, explains, “This multi-million-dollar commercial agreement with Spright is a clear proof that the Wingcopter 198 has a perfect product-market-fit. We are proud to enable large-scale drone delivery across the United States with this strong partnership. The projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the drone delivery market of more than 50 % to a total volume of almost USD 40 billion in 2030 underlines the rapid adoption of eVTOL technology for last-mile logistics. We are happy to be at the forefront of this fast-growing market together with Spright.”