The 19-seat Dornier 228 testbed aircraft, retrofitted with a full-size prototype hydrogen-electric powertrain on its left wing, took off from the company’s R&D facility in Gloucestershire, UK, for a 10-minute flight.
The flight is a significant milestone in the HyFlyer II project, a government-backed R&D program aimed at developing a 600kW powertrain for zero-emission flights on 9-19 seat aircraft worldwide. The powertrain consists of two fuel cell stacks, with lithium-ion battery packs providing additional power during takeoff and added redundancy for safe testing.
ZeroAvia will now focus on achieving its certifiable configuration to begin commercial operations using the technology by 2025. The company, which has offices in the UK and US, has already obtained experimental certificates for its two prototype aircraft from the CAA and FAA.
Val Miftakhov, ZeroAvia, Founder and CEO, says: “This is a major moment, not just for ZeroAvia, but for the aviation industry as a whole, as it shows that true zero-emission commercial flight is only a few years away. The first flight of our 19-seat aircraft shows just how scalable our technology is and highlights the rapid progress of zero-emission propulsion. This is only the beginning – we are building the future of sustainable, zero climate impact aviation. Our approach is the best solution to accelerate clean aviation at scale. Congratulations to everyone on our team and all of our partners and stakeholders for the collective effort that brought us to this monumental day in history.”