More Than 100 Electric Aircraft for First Responders May Be Headed to Oregon

A tentative agreement between manufacturer Jump Aero and Oregon’s Department of Aviation calls for the delivery of up to 126 eVTOL aircraft.

Jump Aero Pulse eVTOL

A digital rendering depicts what Jump Aero’s JA1 Pulse eVTOL might look like in forward flight. [Courtesy: Jump Aero]

An electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) design purpose-built for first responders may soon fly in Oregon skies.

Jump Aero, a manufacturer of eVTOL aircraft for emergency response, on Tuesday announced it is working with the Oregon Department of Aviation to bring its JA1 Pulse to the state’s rural population. 

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the partners cements Oregon as the latest state with plans to introduce the model, which Jump Aero bills as the “world’s fastest sustainable personal aircraft.” 

Capable of reaching a top speed of 250 knots in short dashes—above the speed limit under Class B airspace around many metro areas, but suitable for rural areas—it’s designed to cut emergency response times in half, allowing first responders to fly within a 31 sm (27 nm) radius in as little as eight minutes under certain limitations.

The announcement follows Jump Aero’s collaboration with the Utah Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics Division, which is exploring how the Pulse could augment the state’s first responders.

“We are confident that the JA1 Pulse will be a critical lifesaving tool in Oregon and look forward to working with first responders there and in the growing list of partner regions,” said Carl Dietrich, president and CEO of Jump Aero. “This MOU and the work it represents is directly in line with Jump Aero's mission.”

The MOU predicts that Oregon will need up to 126 Pulse eVTOLs to “ensure that a trained professional is on the scene as quickly as possible.” The agreement also states that the aircraft “can make a dramatic impact by helping save lives of Oregon residents and tourists” because of its ability to traverse long distances and challenging terrain in as little as eight minutes.

According to research from the Journal of the American Medical Association, emergency medical services typically take seven minutes to arrive on scene after a 911 call is made. However, the median response time rises to 14 minutes in rural areas, with about 1 in 10 victims waiting close to half an hour for personnel to arrive. Such trips can span longer distances, but winding roads and hilly geography can pose obstacles for ground-based support.

“We look forward to building a long-term relationship with Jump Aero as we explore providing rapid first response to our rural communities with the JA1 Pulse,” said Kenji Sugahara, director of the Oregon Department of Aviation. “We are excited to be bringing cutting-edge solutions to Oregon residents which will positively impact their health and lives in such a dramatic way.”

The Pulse’s 330-pound payload allows it to carry a pilot as well as emergency supplies, though it will not transport patients. And despite its VTOL architecture, the aircraft won’t replace helicopters.

Rather, Pulse is designed to complement ambulances and rotorcraft by providing initial on-scene support to locations where helicopters typically can’t land, such as a two-way residential street. An ambulance would also be dispatched in this scenario, though the expectation is that it would arrive later. 

The tail-sitter biplane—which stands nose-up on the runway—can be deployed in less than 60 seconds, while piston- or turbine-engine rotorcraft take a bit longer to start and initialize for flight. While fully assembled, it’s compact enough to fit in a flatbed trailer, allowing personnel to transport and deploy it where needed.

The Pulse cruises on a pair of fixed wings and runs on eight independent batteries powering eight motors, four on each set of wings. During takeoff, the pilot stands upright before transitioning to a prone position—à la Superman—as the aircraft tilts forward.

A large belly window gives the pilot—who would be looking straight down—an unobstructed view of the ground below, helping to enable trickier landings on slopes as steep as 10 degrees. Safety features include simplified flight controls with full envelope protection, ballistic airframe parachute, and adaptive flight controller. The aircraft can continue hovering at about 9,500 feet with a failed propulsor.

So far, Jump Aero has yet to announce a hard entry-into-service deadline for the Pulse. Some eVTOL manufacturers, including Joby Aviation and Archer Aviation, hope to launch commercial air taxi services as soon as 2025. Others, such as Wisk, are looking further out, eyeing the range of 2028 to 2030.

When Pulse is eventually rolled out, it will have a few early customers. In an announcement unveiling the design, Jump Aero revealed that Falck Ambulance Services purchased an option to order a single aircraft, making the Danish firm its first prospective buyer. Just a few weeks later, a second customer, Australian sustainable innovation holdings company Electro Ventures, placed an order for 10 aircraft.

Jump Aero is backed by AFWERX, the innovation arm of the U.S. Air Force—a recent $1.8 million tactical funding increase (TACFI) brought its total contract value with the department to $5.4 million. AFWERX will partially fund Jump Aero’s first full-scale, proof-of-concept prototype and work with the company to mature its technology.

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Jack is a staff writer covering advanced air mobility, including everything from drones to unmanned aircraft systems to space travel—and a whole lot more. He spent close to two years reporting on drone delivery for FreightWaves, covering the biggest news and developments in the space and connecting with industry executives and experts. Jack is also a basketball aficionado, a frequent traveler and a lover of all things logistics.

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