Hanwha Group invests $145M in Overair to develop all-electric VTOL aircraft


Overair, an eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle) business, has received $145 million in finance from Hanwha Systems and Hanwha Aerospace, global pioneers in ultra-precise communications and aircraft technology.

With this fresh financing, Overair remains on pace to fly its experimental prototype electric aircraft in the second half of 2023.

Hanwha’s sustained investment in Overair not only supports the ongoing development of Butterfly, but also paves the way for the commercialization of Overair’s mobility technology. As the two firms expand their R&D collaboration, Hanwha will also provide electric motors and battery packs for Overair’s prototypes.

“This is a tremendous milestone for our growing team, and we’re extremely well positioned to deliver sustainable aerial ridesharing to the world through the development of Butterfly,” said Ben Tigner, Co-Founder and CEO of Overair. “We’re exactly where we want to be, building a superior aircraft company with class leading mobility technology around an unrivaled aircraft while rapidly approaching the first flight of a purpose-built prototype next year. We’ve proven Butterfly’s propulsion system, so we’ll now begin validating Butterfly’s ability to operate safely in real-world weather conditions, carry significant payloads, and fly incredibly quietly.”

Butterfly is an all-electric, six-seat aircraft designed for vertical takeoff and landing. The sophisticated propulsion mechanism of the aircraft is derived from decades of Abe Kareem-led military VTOL programs.

Due to this tradition of exclusive innovation, Butterfly’s propulsion is incredibly efficient and will provide the aircraft with the widest flight envelope and lightest sound footprint in the industry. Specifically, Butterfly’s revolutionary Optimum Speed Propulsion (OSP) uses four huge propellers, which spin slowly when hovering and even slower when cruising, and take only a fraction of the available motor power, allowing the aircraft to operate safely in adverse environmental conditions. In addition, the slow-turning propellers emit a negligible amount of noise, allowing the Butterfly to operate in densely populated locations with noise-sensitive communities.

“Hanwha’s basic principles for new business development is to focus on ‘Disruptive Innovation’ that can uproot and shift the market and technology trends based on its core capabilities. In alignment with its core capabilities as well as its main businesses, Hanwha is selecting ‘Game Changer’ businesses that it can really excel in the future, and eVTOL vehicle is one of the ‘Game changer,’” said Mr. Sungchul Eoh, CEO of Hanwha Systems. “With regard to our investment decision in Overair, we assessed that the company had the numerous patients and core technologies required to develop highly efficient, low noise vehicle. Therefore, we expected that Overair would be capable of developing superb vehicle that can satisfy the requirements for safety, efficiency, speed, low noise, and environment-friendly feature. We see the potential of Overair’s Optimum Speed Propulsion system and we will continue to work together to find synergies and bring this breakthrough technology to the world.”

Overair is collaborating with NASA and Urban Movement Labs in Los Angeles to create urban air mobility (UAM) route and infrastructure while it continues to pursue FAA certification.

Nedim Husomanovic

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