The ZeroAvia Hydrogen electric aircraft makes history in its maiden flight
As the world’s largest aircraft powered by a hydrogen electric engine, the new ZeroAvia hydrogen electric aircraft soared the skies in its first flight. Retrofitting the Dornier 228 testbed craft with a full size prototype hydrogen electric powertrain on its left wing, ZeroAvia took off at their R&D facility at Cotswold Airport in Gloucestershire, UK.
Lasting 10 minutes, the ZeroAvia Hydrogen electric aircraft completed take-off, a full pattern circuit, landing, and taxi. The historic flight is a component of the HyFlyer II project, a significant R&D program that’s supported by the UK Government’s ATI Program which aims to build 600kW powertrains around the world to enable 9–19 seat aircrafts with zero-emissions.
“This is putting us straight on the path to commercial launches,” said ZeroAvia founder and CEO, Val Miftakhov. “This first flight shows just how scalable our technology is and highlights the rapid progress of zero-emission propulsion.”
The craft’s hydrogen electric engine is made up of two stacks of fuel cells, with lithium-ion battery packs adding additional redundancy and peak power support during takeoff. Hydrogen tanks and fuel cell power generation devices were located within the cabin in this testbed arrangement of the Dornier 228.
ZeroAvia is now on pace for a certifiable configuration that’ll be finished and submitted for certification in 2023. This program also serves as a cornerstone to enable technological advancement for larger aircrafts. The clean engine technology will be scaled for up to 90-seat aircrafts under ZeroAvia’s ongoing 2-5 MW powertrain development.
According to Miftakhov, ZeroAvia has received more than 1,500 pre-orders for hydrogen fuel-cell devices. 700 of those orders are for the engine size used in the test flight. “We know the market is there for it, it’s now all about pushing this to the final design,” Miftakhov added.