Wingcopter Delivery Drone Begins Type Certification Process in Japan

Wingcopter supported by ITOCHU Corporation has been accepted to begin the type certification process for the 198 delivery drone under the unmanned aircraft class-1 type certification by the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau By Sarah Simpson / 11 Apr 2024
Wingcopter Delivery Drone Begins Type Certification Process in Japan
Follow UST

With the support of ITOCHU Corporation, Wingcopter has applied and received acceptance to open the type certification process of its Wingcopter 198 delivery drone in Japan.

This is thought to mark the first time a foreign company’s drone, and the first time a fixed-wing drone, has been accepted under the unmanned aircraft class-1 type certification by the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

Upon successful type certification, Wingcopter will be granted permission to conduct flights equivalent to Level 4.

Level 4 refers to flights beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) in populated areas, significantly expanding the application range of drones. This would make Wingcopter and its partner ITOCHU one of the first companies that could set up commercial BVLOS operations in Japan.

With its aging population and secluded landscapes, including many inhabited islands, the country is considered one of the world’s largest markets for drone deliveries in the future.

ITOCHU and Wingcopter aim to use the Wingcopter 198 to establish drone delivery networks and services that can provide an air bridge to overcome various social challenges by transporting vital and urgently needed goods quickly and environmentally friendly over many kilometers and above challenging terrain.

“This milestone represents significant progress towards realizing commercial drone delivery in Japan and beyond.” said Florian-Michael Adolf, Head of Certification at Wingcopter. “At Wingcopter, we are striving for type certification, as it underscores our commitment to safety of our product, as well as the diligence and professionalism of our entire team. We would like to thank our partners at ITOCHU for supporting us in this process with their extensive knowledge, network, and resources.”

Masaharu Sato, Deputy General Manager, Aerospace Department at ITOCHU Corporation, adds: “We see great potential in Wingcopter’s delivery drone to make everybody’s life better and are delighted with the promising progress in realizing this value. It is our honor to collaborate with the dedicated professionals at Wingcopter, led by the management team around Tom, Jonathan and Ansgar. We look forward to continuing this exciting journey together.”

ITOCHU, which is a long-time business partner and investor in Wingcopter, will conduct several Proof of Concepts under special permits until the expected type certification.

In May 2023, ITOCHU and Wingcopter successfully conducted a verification experiment for the implementation of medical blood product transportation by Wingcopter’s delivery drones, the first of its kind in Japan.

In addition to the type certification efforts in Japan, Wingcopter is currently undergoing the FAA type certification process in the USA, which will unlock the huge commercial potential of the North American market as well.

Posted by Sarah Simpson Specialising in digital copy Sarah is an experienced copywriter and researcher. Working with Unmanned Systems Technology Sarah has developed a passion for sourcing unique digital content and a talent for writing about the latest technical innovations in the unmanned sector. Connect & Contact