Reliable Robotics plans cargo airline for automated flights

By Rebecca Jeffrey

Reliable Robotics aircraft. Photo: Reliable Robotics

US aircraft automation firm Reliable Robotics has announced a new cargo airline led by industry veterans.

The California-based company has appointed David DeRose as director of finance and Lee Tomlinson as director of operations to its fully owned Part 135 airline subsidiary, in preparation for commercial cargo flights later this year.

DeRose and Tomlinson join Jeff Drees, director of cargo strategy, who is the former chief commercial officer for Ameriflight. Reliable Robotics is executing a phased certification approach to bring its remotely-operated aircraft system and services to market once its commercial safety is proven.

“We are working with leading cargo carriers eager to integrate remotely piloted systems into their fleets,” explained Jeff Drees, director of cargo strategy for Reliable Robotics and former co-owner and chief commercial officer of Ameriflight. “By demonstrating crewed air cargo delivery first, we will build a solid foundation for the transition to remotely operated flights.”

Today commercial aircraft typically fly through larger hubs, while many rural and remote communities are not serviced regularly. Reliable Robotics’ automation system is designed to enable remote operation of any aircraft type and expands access to more locations, with safety, convenience and affordability in mind.

Launched in 2017, the company is building a remotely piloted system that has the capability to land on almost any airstrip, enabling point-to-point deliveries to underserved regional airports. Once the system is certified for commercial use, cargo operators will be able to expand direct routes to more locations and gain the flexibility to fly more frequently with remotely piloted aircraft. The system can be adapted to almost any aircraft, including new electric and hybrid electric propulsion platforms.

Reliable Robotics recently announced Series C funding to continue to expand its team, support certification plans for the Cessna 208 programme and launch cargo services.

Drees, who has 40 years of experience in the aviation industry, will lead cargo operations and recruit key hires for the Part 135 subsidiary.

DeRose will lead finance for airline subsidiary. He has spent much of his career in aviation including 25 years at Ameriflight.

Tomlinson will run the airline and serve as the contact with the Federal Aviation Administration. His operational experience in the cargo feeder industry spans over 20 years.

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