RAAA Convention 2024
RAAA Convention 2024


19 February 2024
Why Aviation Logistics ordered the Vertiia

When Aviation Logistics signed for 10 AMSL Aero Vertiia hydrogen electric Vertical Take Off and Landing aircraft this month, replacing scheduled regional airline services wasn’t the first thing on director Mark Wardrop’s mind.

Aviation Logistics is one of the largest and most diverse general aviation companies in Australia, operating around 70 aircraft from seven major bases, providing passenger services and charter, air freight and aeromedical across its Chartair, AirLink and AirMed subsidiaries. The company’s aeromedical operations even include 30 patient transfer vehicles.

As a director of a group flying everything from emergency medical evacuations to country mail runs and tourism flights, Mark Wardrop is well placed to see the potential and the challenges.

He believes the Vertiia’s estimated low operating cost, vertical takeoff capability and real endurance and range potential (up to 1000km and speeds of 160 knots), could help it supplant ground transport as much as air services and will create new markets that couldn’t be imagined with today’s aviation models.  

“Patients are driving three hours each way from regional centres to capital cities for scheduled medical treatment,” he said. “The Vertiia may make that an affordable 30-minute flight and might deliver the patients straight to the hospital’s rooftop helipad. But in the same way, it may also mean people in small remote towns have easier access to the medical services of their regional city.

“Smaller regional towns can’t afford to maintain an airport, or can’t attract scheduled RPT, so they don’t have the same access to affordable freight or medical services, or even simple things like having easy access to pathology samples or having blood sent for testing. The Vertiia can connect these towns to Australia’s major centres and the rest of the world, because it won’t need an airport.”

If the aircraft delivers on its direct operating cost estimates, (AMSL Aero is talking around 70% lower operating costs than a helicopter), Wardrop believes we may even see on-demand passenger services, with private individuals or groups ordering a rideshare E-VTOL much as they would an Uber or a taxi today. Considering the traffic snarls of major cities, it may become an affordable means of heading to a country destination for the weekend.

But not yet. Mark Wardrop is under no illusions about the operational, regulatory and public acceptance issues that need to be sorted before such services become commercial reality.

“Regulatory authorities are still working on how these aircraft will be regulated, on what kind of pilot’s licence is needed, and how they will be maintained,” he said. “The Vertiia has wheels and is capable of run-on landings and takeoffs, so is it a VTOL or a Short Takeoff and Landing aircraft?

“Do we need pilots trained in both helicopter and fixed wing aircraft? And what will an engineer’s training look like?”

Some may question why Aviation Logistics has handed over real money on a technology which is yet to have its operating parameters defined, but Wardrop is quite comfortable on that point.

“We believe it is only a matter of time before electric and hydrogen powered aircraft are transporting people across Australia,” he said.

“Vertiia has the potential to change the way people living in rural and regional communities access services such as education and healthcare located in major centres. We need to be in at the start, to work through the issues and be in the best position to make the most of this technology when it matures. Because it will.”

Mark Wardrop and  AMSL Aero Chair Chris Smallhorn will both speak as part of the conference program at RAAA Convention 2024.



For more information: raaaconvention@amda.com.au