Wingcopter and ITOCHU Start Type Certification Process for W
Stay informed with our
free newsletters

This news is classified in: Aerospace Unmanned Systems

Apr 10, 2024

Wingcopter and ITOCHU Start Type Certification Process for Wingcopter 198 in Japan

  • First foreign company's drone to be accepted for type certification
  • Approval would allow for commercial BVLOS operations in populated areas

With the support of ITOCHU Corporation, Wingcopter has applied and received acceptance for opening the type certification process of its Wingcopter 198 delivery drone in Japan. This marks 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.

Global UAV Fleet Management Market: Focus on Application, End User, Type, Autonomy, and Region

Global UAV Fleet Management Market: Focus on Application, End User, Type, Autonomy, and Region

Download free sample pages

Florian-Michael Adolf, Head of Certification at Wingcopter, comments: "This milestone represents significant progress towards realizing commercial drone delivery in Japan and beyond. 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 allow to unlock the huge commercial potential of the North American market as well.