ZeroAvia performs first flight of the largest aircraft with a hydrogen-electric engine

Retrofitted Dornier 228 regional turboprop took off from Costwold Airport in southwest England on January 18 for a 10-minute flight

Startup ZeroAvia performed the first flight with a Dornier 228 regional aircraft converted to operate with an electric motor powered by hydrogen fuel cells, part of the HyFlyer II program.

The flight took place on Thursday, January 18, from Costwold Airport, in Gloucestershire, United Kingdom, and lasted 10 minutes.

The Dornier 228 was partially transformed into an aircraft capable of operating with a hydrogen-electric combination. To achieve this, Zeroavia replaced the Honeywell TPE-331 turboprop engine on the left wing with the ZA-600 electric hydrogen engine, developed by the company.

Unlike the commercial version, which will carry hydrogen tanks under the wings, the G-HFZA registration aircraft had fuel and batteries stored in the passenger cabin.

“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,” said Val Miftakhov, founder and CEO of ZeroAvia.

The goal is to start certification this year in the United Kingdom, foreseeing entry into service in 2025. ZeroAvia says it expects to order 600 to 700 engines within two years and is already looking for a place to build an assembly line for them.

ZeroAvia had already performed flight tests with a Piper Malibu converted to be powered by an electric-hydrogen engine in 2020, within the HyFlyer I program.

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