Elroy Air Customer Story
Elroy Air is on a mission to enable same-day shipping to every person on the planet. It’s a goal that has the potential to massively expand the reach of express shipping, provide humanitarian aid in regions with challenging infrastructure and immediate relief in disaster and fire-fighting situations, and enable rapid autonomous aerial resupply to troops in the field.
The start-up was founded in 2016 and already boasts partnerships with the likes of the U.S. Air Force, NASA, and FedEx, to name a few.
Developing industry-first autonomous aircraft systems and software requires a wide range of expertise. Members of the Elroy Air team specialize in autonomous systems and software architectures, aerospace engineering, robotics, design, shipping logistics, supply chain, or manufacturing. One of these experts is Julie Kumar, a Production Manager on the Operations team.
The Search for Specialized Transport
When Elroy Air was invited to unveil the Chaparral—the first of its kind, end-to-end autonomous vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aerial cargo system—at the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, it was Julie who was charged with transporting it.
“I knew generally what to look for,” Julie remembers. Her first step was to reach out to a logistics company she’d worked with in the past to crate up and transport components. However, they’d never transported an entire aircraft.
On a Zoom meeting with their logistics team, Julie realized she needed a company with more experience. “They all seemed nice, but they were thinking out loud with me, and I was looking for someone who could guide me as opposed to the other way around.”
She discovered moveauto through a quick Google search. “I found a webpage with a picture of Robert Kamienski on a forklift,” she said. She read about his team’s ability to transport specialized and unique freight and decided to reach out. During their first conversation, Robert, moveauto’s Director of Heavy Haul, asked a series of practical questions that Julie said gave her confidence. He also gave her a list of questions to ask the museum. At the end of the call, Robert told her he’d get back to her shortly. “Wow,” Julie remembered thinking, “he’s really going to be able to help us.”
Within two hours, Robert called back with a solution.
Plenty of Preparation
Moveauto set up a “trailer visit” so that Julie could meet the driver and take some interior dimensions ahead of time. “We only have one of these aircraft, and it’s invaluable,” Julie said, so she needed to make sure the process was flawless. Julie used 3D models of the trailer and the aircraft to ensure the Chaparral would fit perfectly inside the retrofitted race car trailer.
The morning of the unveiling, Julie and her team met the moveauto driver at the Elroy Air headquarters in South San Francisco, CA. Together, they rolled out the Chaparral, fitted the wing into the upper level of the trailer, rolled the fuselage underneath, and tied it down.
“Everything fit exactly the way we expected it to and went really well,” Julie said. Once the trailer arrived at the museum, the mild weather allowed the team to fit the pieces back together outside. The unveiling was a resounding success that resulted in lots of great press, including an appearance on the cover of Aviation Week.
“Julie reached out to us with an exciting challenge. She did a great job explaining the complexity of what they were looking for, which allowed us to collaborate and execute a smooth and successful transport. I love being a problem solver and putting years of hands-on experience to creative use,” said Robert. “It was a pleasure working with the Elroy Air team!”
Moveauto’s Heavy Haul Team thrives on transporting uncommon freight. They work with clients across the country to design custom solutions that ensure safe transport of specialized and unique items. Click here to learn more about our capabilities.
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