ZeroAvia said it had successfully completed the UK’s first ever commercial-scale electric aircraft flight,media New Atlas reported. On June 22, 2020, the company’s HyFlyer aircraft took off from Cranfield Airport in Bedfordshire using the latest version of the hydrogen-electric hybrid system as part of a plan to develop large, long-range, zero-emission aircraft.
Electric-powered aircraft, with its zero-emission characteristics, attract a lot of interest, but its need for a large and heavy battery pack and limited range limits its potential applications. HyFlyer solves this problem by using a new hydrogen fuel cell power system that is comparable in performance to conventional engines, both to increase range and reduce costs by reducing battery cycles.
ZeroAvia funds the Aerospace Research and Technology Program, led by the British Institute of Aerospace Technology (ATI). Project HyFlyer technology could be expanded in a short period of time, the company said, and it expects 10-20 aircraft to be operational within three years, 50-100 in 2030 and 200 in 2040 with a range of more than 3,000 nautical miles (556 kilometers).
HyFlyer has completed full-power ground testing and longer-range hydrogen test flights are scheduled to take place in the coming months. The final test will take place from the Orkney Islands in Scotland for a flight of 250 to 300 nautical miles (463 to 556 km).
“Today’s flight is the latest in a series of milestones that bring the possibility of zero-emissions flight closer to reality,” said Val Miftakhov, founder and CEO of ZeroAvia. “We all hope that the aviation industry will be able to establish itself after the outbreak and move towards a net zero and achieve a green recovery.” Without a realistic, commercialzero-emission flight programme, which we will bring to market as early as 2023. “