Sabrewing Aircraft Company, Inc., a startup that has designed and is building an unmanned Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) Group 5 regional cargo carrier drone, will announced at the AUSA annual meeting and exposition at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington D.C. that it has added Brigadier General Anthony Tata, U.S. Army, Retired and Mike Murkowski, retired Senior Vice President of South American Operations for Federal Express.
Mr. Murkowski retired as the Senior Vice President of South American Operations for Federal Express after over 30 years of distinguished service. During his time at the helm of their South American operations, Mike oversaw one of the largest growth periods for both cargo and revenue. Mike’s experience with all aspects of a large overnight package deliver company – as well as his experience with remote and difficult operating locations make Mike an ideal addition to the Sabrewing management team.
Mike has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Government from Willamette University and a Master’s degree in International Business from the American Graduate School of Business. Mike’s experience in use cases and operations led to Sabrewing’s increases in it’s Rhaegal aircraft’s gross weight and cubic cargo capacity.
“Sabrewing has the unique opportunity to change the way that packages get delivered to remote and weather challenged locations,” stated Mike. “ We expect to be able to be able to service both troops and civilians that previously have been at times almost impossible to reach.”
Among his many accomplishments during his 28 years in the Army, General Tata was awarded the Combat Action Badge and Bronze Star. He is a graduate of US Military Academy at West Point and the U.S. Army’s Ranger School. Anthony also served as Secretary of Transportation of North Carolina from 2013-2015 under Pat McCory.
General Tata is CEO of Tata Leadership Group, LLC and also a bestselling novelist whose subject matter focuses on military life. One-hundred percent of the proceeds from his first novel, Sudden Threat, have been donated to the USO Metro DC Hospital Services fund for Wounded Warriors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Tony states, “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of a company that is already transforming the drone delivery market. Sabrewing has the potential to form a new transportation network using large cargo drones, which will be invaluable in combat as well as peacetime.” The Rhaegal has received strong endorsement from the US Army Maneuver Center of Excellence, and to date has a $51 million sales order book, with deliveries awaiting completion of FAA certification.
“Both Mr. Murkowski and General Tata bring a depth to Sabrewing that is unmatched in the cargo UAV industry. Sabrewing’s designs are truly disruptive to both the commercial and military markets, and unmatched in performance,” stated Ed De Reyes, Sabrewing’s Chairman and CEO. “The addition of Mike and Tony will help Sabrewing position itself to grown quickly and develop the large market that the experts believe exists,” he continued.
In January, Sabrewing completed a funding round to complete the full-sized pre-production prototype of their Rhaegal air vehicle and to begin preliminary flight testing in anticipation of a Series A round in the few months of 2020.
To date, Sabrewing has produced a 1/8 scale model of their first aircraft, following a thorough 3rd-party Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) of their internal engineering and analyses – and has accomplished hover testing, transition, vehicle dynamics and inertias, and control law verification. It was Sabrewing’s rapid development of their engineering and the completion and testing of their scale model that prompted Drone Fund, Idaten Ventures and other investors to fund the additional investment to complete the pre-production prototype.
Sabrewing’s “Rhaegal” air vehicle contains a turbo-electric drivetrain that is capable of taking off and landing vertically – in mud, snow, ice, deep sand or unimproved landing areas – and can fly at speeds of up to 200 knots (370 km/hr), and in weather that is all but impossible for manned aircraft. The Rhaegal is remotely piloted for commercial operations and fully autonomous for military applications, and can deliver over 1200 pounds (550 kgs) payload in pure VTOL mode or up to 6000 pounds (2721 kgs) – from runway to runway – flying at altitudes of up to 22,000 feet (6,700 m) and a range of up to 1000 nautical miles (1800 km). The Rhaegal’s wings fold on the ground for easy ground handling and in the air for landing in tight spaces, and due to its “folding” nose (à la C-5 “Galaxy” or Boeing 747 Freighter aircraft), it requires no special equipment for loading or unloading cargo in remote locations.
Rhaegal’s possible uses include missions such as disaster/emergency response, forward-operating-position resupply and even casualty evacuation, while commercial missions include cargo delivery to locations that are not served by airports, roads or sea ports, or pop-up delivery nodes where the aircraft lands in an open space and ground crews distribute its cargo to waiting trucks without the need to stop at a distribution facility.
The Rhaegal is a regional cargo-carrying aircraft in the same class as the Cessna 208 “Caravan”, Quest Kodiak or Pilatus PC-12 “Porter” aircraft. FAA certification of the Rhaegal is planned for 2023.