Jump Aero, Electro Ventures Partner For 10 Fast-Response eVTOLs
U.S. startup Jump Aero has announced the sale of 10 fast-response electric-vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) vehicles to Australian company Electro Ventures, along with a strategic partnership to support and market the tailsitter aircraft in the Asia-Pacific region.
The deal for 10 of Jump Aero’s one-seat JA1 Pulse fast-response aircraft comes shortly after the California-based startup emerged from stealth earlier this month at the Revolution.aero conference in San Francisco. The company also previously announced an agreement for purchase options from Denmark-based international ambulance operator Falck for four aircraft.
The sale to Electro Ventures included nonrefundable deposits, according to Jump, although the company did not specify the amount.
With a portfolio of 12 innovation-focused companies, Electro Ventures is a holding company dedicated to sustainable technologies and renewable energy. As part of their strategic agreement, Jump Aero will be collaborating with the group’s Electro Aero unit, which develops chargers for electric aircraft, as well as FlyOnE, an electric aircraft distributor that also has a growing fleet of Pipistrel Alpha Electro trainers.
“The partnership that we’re forming with Electro Ventures is not just a pure customer one. It’s much more than that,” explains Carl Dietrich, founder and CEO of Jump Aero. “Yes, they’re ordering a bunch of aircraft, but they’re also going to be a partner in the Asia-Pacific region for Jump Aero, providing maintenance and support in that neck of the woods. We’re also already working with Electro Aero on the charging side of the house. So they’re a partner in multiple dimensions.”
Inspired by former NASA engineer Mark Moore’s Puffin eVTOL concept from 2010, the JA1 Pulse is a tailsitter with eight propellers on four cranked wings. The aircraft takes off vertically with the pilot standing and transitions to wing-borne flight with the pilot in a prone position.
Dietrich says that Jump settled on the tailsitter configuration because it was most optimal for the emergency response mission, in which every minute saved is of critical importance to keeping the patient alive. The aircraft has a dash speed of up to 460 km/hr. (250 kt.), which is the maximum speed allowable under 10,000-ft. altitude.
“With the tailsitter, we have the opportunity to perform rapid response missions that you can’t do with a typical helicopter because they take 3-to-5 min. to spool up, and that’s time you can’t afford to lose,” Dietrich says. “We also have rapid ingress and egress, and high-speed dash capability. And we have a much smaller vehicle footprint so we can land more easily in unimproved areas like a driveway or the side of a road if there’s a traffic accident.”
Because of the critically time-sensitive nature of emergency response, particularly in rural locations with low population density, Jump Aero has set a goal of trying to maximize the aircraft’s coverage window within 8 min., in line with the contractual terms of many first-response companies. Dietrich says the JA1 Pulse can travel up to 30 mi. within 8 min., which offers a coverage area orders of magnitude greater than what is possible for helicopters and even other eVTOLs that were not specifically optimized for rapid-response missions.
Having the pilot in a prone position, coupled with a large belly window, also provides excellent situational awareness, which is key when landing in unimproved landing zones, Dietrich says. He noted that 90% of medical emergencies happen at home or the workplace.
“We give the pilot this really big belly window right in front of them, and their view is just tremendous,” he says. “That’s important, because you might need to do a 45-deg. or 60-deg. steep approach–maybe there’s a telephone line or row of trees in the way ... I would argue there is no VTOL aircraft that’s going to have a better situational awareness of an unimproved landing zone than a tailsitter.”
The JA1 is designed to fly one-way only, so the pilot does not need to concern themselves with reserves. The aircraft will be returned to its base on a trailer. As a one-way aircraft, the purpose is simply to stabilize the patient until they can be evacuated by ambulance, not to transport people, Dietrich says.
“What we’re bringing to rural markets is the possibility to get help within 7-8 min., which is the same as what you’d typically get in an urban or suburban area,” he says. Dietrich noted that response times currently average close to 15 min. in many rural parts of the U.S., leading to significantly higher mortality rates for cardiac arrests and other at-home emergencies.
“For one in five Americans, the average response time is 14.5 min.; by 15 min. without oxygen to the brain, you’re dead,” Dietrich says. “We think we can cut that response time in half to 7 or 8 min ... If you think about it, those few minutes are the most valuable minutes of that patient’s life.”
Jump Aero was recently awarded a $1.8 million Tactical Funding Increase (TACFI) from the U.S. Air Force, which it plans to use to fund development of the proof-of-concept aircraft, expected to fly by the second half of 2025.