ZeroAvia recently announced the completion of its initial prototype ZA600 flight testing campaign at Cotswold Airport in the UK. The 10th flight in the initial series was completed last week, and saw a cruise test to establish projections for future ranges using the system, thus teeing up the first cross-country flights as the next stage of testing and demonstration.
Over the course of the last six months, ZeroAvia has sequentially tested different areas of performance following the breakthrough, the world-first flight of the system in January. The campaign has seen the aircraft fly at 5,000 feet, perform an endurance test at 23 minutes, operate in the wide temperature range from just above freezing to almost 30C, and reach the maximum allowable speed under the Permit to Fly issued by the CAA.
Critically, throughout all phases of testing, the fuel cell power generation and electric propulsion system which are the core components of the novel zero-emission engine, performed at or above expectations. The hydrogen-electric engine has matched the power of the conventional, fossil fuel engine on the opposite wing, with the pilots able to fly with thrust generated only from the experimental clean propulsion system in certain tests.
Gabriele Teofili, Head of Aircraft Integration & Testing, ZeroAvia, said:“Plenty of people go through 40-year careers without marking their name in the history books of aerospace engineering. I’m so proud that so many of the team at ZeroAvia can say that they have done that already with this first phase of test flights. This Dornier 228 will now always have a place in our hearts, but we’re excited to take it on its next adventure and head further afield.”
Val Miftakhov, Founder & CEO, ZeroAvia, said: “Zero-emission flight technologies are moving from promise to delivery and our amazing team is leading the way with this testing programme. We do not have to push the unappealing choices on passengers of paying more or flying less to deliver climate-conscious air travel. We instead can adopt this technology quickly to reduce climate impact and air pollution.”
Minister for Industry & Economic Security Nusrat Ghani MP said: “ZeroAvia is making fantastic progress in pioneering zero-emission flight, and I want to congratulate them on another important step completed with their successful flight test campaign. I’m pleased that government support through the ATI Programme has helped ZeroAvia find innovative new ways to cut aviation emissions, which will help us deliver our Jet Zero Strategy and secure high-skilled green jobs in the UK.”
ZeroAvia’s Dornier 228 flight testing programme is part of the HyFlyer II Project, which is part funded by the UK Government via the Aerospace Technology Institute, in conjunction with Innovate UK and the Department for Business and Trade.
Hydrogen-electric engines use hydrogen in fuel cells to generate electricity, which is then used to power electric motors to turn the aircraft’s propellers. The only emission is low-temperature water, with studies finding above 90 per cent total climate effect reduction.
ZeroAvia is a leader in zero-emission aviation, focused on hydrogen-electric aviation, initially targeting a 300-mile range in 9–19 seat aircraft by 2025, and up to 700-mile range in 40–80 seat aircraft by 2027. Based in the US and the UK, ZeroAvia has already secured experimental certificates for its three prototype aircraft from the CAA and FAA, passed significant flight test milestones, secured a number of key partnerships with major aircraft OEMs, secured pre-orders for nearly 2,000 engines from a number of the major global airlines, with future revenue potential over $10bn. The company is on track for commercial operations in 2025. ZeroAvia is part of the UK Government’s Jet Zero Council.