Hydrogen-electric plane developer ZeroAvia has come one step closer to performing the first test flight of its hydrogen electric plane equipped with a 600kW powertrain. The company has received a permit from the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to takeoff soon.
ZeroAvia is a zero-emission aviation company that develops planes that utilize hydrogen-electric propulsion. The company currently operates in the US and UK and previously snagged experimental certificates for prototype aircraft from both the CAA and FAA.
Well before we began covering them, ZeroAvia has been working toward zero-emission commercial plane operations with its 600kW powertrain by 2024, targeting nine to nineteen seats and a range of 300 miles. It will be followed by a two to five mega-watt version targeting a 700-mile range (see timeline below).
The company already has investments from Alaska Air Group in addition to another $35 million from United Airlines. This past summer, ZeroAvia announced an additional $30 million in funding to help further develop its hydrogen electric plane technology to get them into the air.
Now, takeoff is much closer thanks to a permit in the UK.
ZeroAvia to begin hydrogen-electric plane test flights in UK
According to its latest press release, ZeroAvia’s Dornier 228 aircraft has received a Part 21 permit to fly, following extensive ground testing and a review of the full development program by the CAA overseas.
Starting in January 2023, ZeroAvia will officially begin test flights of a twin-engine plane that has been fitted with the 600kW hydrogen-electric powertrain on the left wing and a stock engine on the right for redundancy. ZeroAvia founder and CEO Val Miftakhov spoke to this momentous event for the hydrogen-electric plane developer:
Earning our full Part 21 permit to fly with the CAA is a critical milestone as we develop a zero-emission aviation propulsion system that will be the most environmental and economical solution to the industry’s climate impact. We’re going to be starting 2023 in the best way possible, by demonstrating through flight that true zero-emission commercial flight is much closer than many think.
When ZeroAvia’s Dornier 228 test plane does take flight, it is expected to earn the title as the largest aircraft to ever fly using a hydrogen-electric powertrain. ZeroAvia says its permitting milestone paves the way for its commercially certifiable ZA600 plane. It plans to submit that aircraft for certification by the end of 2023.
ZeroAvia also expects to begin delivering powertrains to initial commercial routes for planes with 9-19 seats by 2025. The company states it already has 1,500 zero-emission engines under pre-order from several aircraft manufacturers.
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