Super heavy-lift drone to be made at Florida plant

By Luke Geiver | April 27, 2017

Florida is set to become home to the next wave of unique commercial drones to operate in the U.S. GRIFF Aviation, a Norwegian-based unmanned aircraft systems designer and manufacturer of a heavy-lift drone, has announced plans to open and begin running an assembly plant near Tampa.

According to GRIFF, the company has developed a system that can lift hundreds of pounds through a multirotor system. “The commercial heavy-lift drone is the next big worldwide technology explosion once regulations can be worked out governing the industry,” said Lief Holand, GRIFF’s CEO.

The system designed and tested in Norway by GRIFF will be priced at $250,000, which is a bargain to the next available option, a helicopter, said Holand.

At its plant in Florida, the company will produce four airframes capable of using up to 20 different accessories. Flight times will range from 20 minutes to 45 minutes depending on payload weight and the number of battery packs used on the systems. A 500-foot electronic power tether is available to keep the unit in the air indefinitely.

Customers of the system will include construction, movie production, agriculture, search and rescue, law enforcement, civil services, fire services, cargo delivery, man overboard rescues and military and defense industries. A ballistic parachute will also be used and deployed in milliseconds if there is a problem with the platform.

“Consider that the only other alternative a purchaser has is a helicopter at ten times the operating cost and the GRIFF drones become quite a bargain,” Holand said.