Quebec manufacturers serving the aerospace market will soon have one more customer to call on. Switzerland’s Dufour Aerospace is establishing a base of operations in Montreal as it looks to develop the next electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.
One of the newest innovations in aerospace technology, eVTOL aircraft function much like a drone. They use electric power to hover, take off and land vertically, addressing the need for new vehicles for urban air mobility.
“Canada and Montreal have such a historic pedigree in both aviation and software engineering. It is a natural choice for Dufour Aerospace which seeks to collaborate with the local ecosystem to grow its local operations,” said Thomas Pfammatter, CEO of Dufour Aerospace, himself a long-time air ambulance pilot and business executive. “We were initially inspired by the Canadair Dynavert (CL-84), where Canadian engineers established both the aerodynamic principles of tilt-wing flight and built prototypes with hundreds of hours of flight time.”
Dufour Aerospace will initially hire software engineers focused on developing systems for its Aero2 and Aero3 eVTOL aircraft. Each design features a tilt wing that combines the best of helicopters and airplanes: vertical take-off and landing on even the smallest spots and energy-efficient longer-range flight at high speeds. The Aero2 is designed for unmanned, remotely piloted operations. The Aero3 is a manned, 8-seat aircraft designed specifically for air ambulance and HEMS operations. Flight testing of the Aero2 has begun in Zurich, Switzerland.
“Montreal boasts high-quality universities and a strong community of software engineers. Furthermore, Canada is the second-largest global helicopter market,” said Jasmine Kent, CTO of Dufour Aerospace. “With a strong background in advanced software engineering, the local talent community is well qualified to help us build tomorrow’s fleet of air ambulance,” she added.
More than one out of sixty workers in Greater Montreal is employed in the local aerospace industry.
“Greater Montréal is a unique location to develop tomorrow’s air ambulance. Dufour is inspired by the Canadair Dynavert, an aircraft developed in the 1960s by a Montréal based pioneer. This new project is not only a testament to our city’s legacy to the aviation industry worldwide, but also to our growing IT ecosystem which is essential for its advancement,” said Stéphane Paquet, President and CEO of Montréal International.