Overair inks three partnerships in South Korea, including letter of intent to sell 20 Butterfly eVTOLs

Electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) developer Overair has shared details of a successful trip to South Korea that birthed three new partnerships to advance the country’s advanced air mobility (AAM) goals. Along with its strategic partner Hanwha Systems, Overair has a letter of intent for a purchase of 20 Butterfly aircraft and more.

Overair is an AAM specialist based in Santa Ana, California, that was spun out of Karem Aircraft in 2020. Its team combined decades worth of aerospace experience to develop its flagship eVTOL called the Butterfly, which originally debuted in 2021.

The Butterfly’s current design can carry five passengers plus a pilot, or 1,100 pounds of cargo, and it can reach a top speed of 200 mph – all while traveling about 100 miles on a single charge. Overair hopes to bring this eVTOL to production, where it can serve as alternative transportation to congested metropolitan areas like Los Angeles.

In fact, Overair continues to work alongside Urban Movement Labs (UML) to create a safe, equitable, and sustainable path to eVTOL transportation on its native West Coast.

While Overair continues to develop its eVTOL technologies toward flights in the US, following a fresh round of funding in June of 2022, the company is setting its sights on a new market – South Korea. So far, it has found some early suitors.

Overair Korea
Credit: Overair

Overair looks to Korea to get its eVTOL’s in the air

According to the company, it signed a letter of intent as well as two memoranda of understanding (MOU) with key partners in Korea to accelerate the nation’s AAM goals. Those signings took palace this week during the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX), which was attended by defense officials from over 57 countries around the globe.

Joining Overair at the exhibition was Hanwha Systems – an expert in urban air traffic management (UATM), software management systems, navigation, surveillance, and information hardware, who signed its own MOU with Overair and the self-governing Jeju Province of South Korea earlier this month.

This week’s signings included a letter of intent from HeliKorea for the purchase of 20 Butterfly eVTOLs to be used for medical, executive, and cargo transport, in addition to firefighting, high-voltage power line inspection, and other applications. Overair says it intends to provide eVTOL pilot and maintenence training if and when those Butterfly aircraft are delivered overseas.

Overair also announced a signed MOU with South Korean convergence specialist Daewoo Engineering & Construction. Together, the companies plan to develop a series of AAM networks across East South Asian markets, establish local vertiport sites, and work alongside government authorities to establish regulatory frameworks necessary for commercial AAM operations.

Lastly, Overair also signed an MOU with the Korean Police who look to integrate eVTOL technologies into the agency. Together, the new partners intend to develop and implement AAM operational training, including vertiport integration, pilot training, maintenance, and community education. Overair CEO Ben Tigner spoke to the company’s latest partnerships:

Overair is committed to supporting South Korea’s strong AAM ambitions through partnerships like these that ensure all facets of the ecosystem are considered. Local governments, operators, and infrastructure providers alike will play an integral role as we enter this new era of transportation. We look forward to collaborating with our partners at Hanwha Systems on these exciting new projects, which will bring real benefits to the communities they impact and provide a solid foundation to further AAM adoption across Southeast Asia.

To date, Overair has completed eVTOL propulsion testing, but has yet to deliver its first aircraft. The company states its full-scale prototype is in the final assembly process and flight tests are expected to begin in 2024.

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