DRONAMICS is the first cargo airline to obtain an EU Light UAS Operator Certificate (LUC). The LUC is the highest authorisation currently achievable for European drone operations. The license is the first one issued in Europe for cargo drone operations.
DRONAMICS can now start commercial operations with their Black Swan drone, which can carry 350kg over 2,500 kilometres. The drone can land and take off from short unpaved runways, but operations will start from airfields in Malta and Italy. Licensed aviators manage the take-off and landing of the drones on the ground. When the drone reaches cruising altitude, it operates autonomously. It is monitored via satellite from the DRONAMICS flight control centre, where trained pilots are on standby for the flight duration.
The license allows them to self-authorise flight operations across EASA countries, including Beyond Visual Line of Sight Operations, allowing the drones to fly autonomously. Commercial operations across EU countries will start from airports in Malta and Italy in the second half of this year.
Optimising the Middle Mile
Brothers Svilen and Konstantin Rangelov founded DRONAMICS in 2014. The idea for the drone came to the brothers a few years before. Konstantin was studying Aerospace Engineering at the Delft Univesity of Technology. Svilen remembers the conversation vividly:
“Konstantin was telling me about how he missed Bulgarian cheese, how hard it was to find it in Delft, and how long it took him to get the cheese from Sofia to Delft. I told Constantin: you are the aerospace engineer. You can solve that problem. It’s about 2200 kilometres from Delft to Sofia, where we were born.”
Konstantin started working on the design that would ultimately turn into the Black Swan. After finishing their studies, the brothers decided to turn his design into reality, and they founded DRONAMICS.
Air Freight Should be Fast, Flexible
The Black Swan will change how companies approach the middle mile.
“The Black Swan can land and take off from a parking lot or a grass strip. It means that even small towns without an airfield can enjoy the fast service that air freight provides. With a payload of 350kg and a range of up to 2500km, it is perfect for middle-mile point to point transportation. No need for hub and spoke operations. The drones can operate in a flexible network.”
Any town in Europe can have its own droneport to receive and dispatch the drones. These standardised droneports are low cost and easy to implement.
The Future is Sustainable
Sustainability is at the heart of DRONAMICS’ drone design. The Black Swan is the most fuel-efficient cargo aircraft to date, and the sustainability ambitions of the Ragulov brothers don’t end there. By 2023 they will operate carbon-neutral. The drones will run on bio-ethanol and synthetic fuel, reducing emissions by up to 90% compared to alternative modes of transportation.
DRONAMICS wants to enable Europe-wide same-day delivery coverage for anything from consumer products like fashion or electronics to pharma and healthcare products, to spare parts or supplies for remote locations.
“We are very proud to be able to start our commercial middle-mile operations, bringing same-day delivery to even the remotest locations in Europe.”
If you want to hear more about DRONAMICS, the Black Swan, and Svilen’s ambitions, listen to this episode of the Does Logistics Matter? Podcast.
In this episode, we talk about:
- How a fixed-wing drone became the most fuel-efficient aircraft ever
- The benefits of a fixed-wing drone for carrying cargo
- How these long-range drones can enable same-day delivery even for remote areas, landing or taking off from empty parking lots or grass landing strips