ZeroAvia successfully completed the first electric-powered flight yesterday of a commercial-scale aircraft in the UK.
The test flight is viewed as a significant milestone both for the UK’s net zero and green aviation ambitions, and for ZeroAvia on the journey to demonstrating long-distance zero emission flights in large aircraft.
The company successfully completed the first flight of the new version of its powertrain from its base at Cranfield Airport in a six-seater Piper-M.
ZeroAvia is focused on developing a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain. Hydrogen-electric offers similar zero-emission potential of battery-electric, however ZeroAvia believes the better energy-to-weight ratio makes it more viable for commercial operations at a much larger scale and in a shorter time frame.
Over the long-term, hydrogen-electric powertrain proponents argue the technology will have lower operating costs due to the high cost of battery cycling in typical high-utilization regional aircraft.
ZeroAvia plans commercially relevant, certified 10-20 seat configurations ready to go within three years, and 50-100 seat configurations in flight by the end of the decade. The company projects that aircraft over 200 seats with a range in excess of 3,000 nautical miles is achievable by 2040 without requiring any fundamental scientific breakthroughs.
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