ZeroAvia just flew the biggest hydrogen electric plane

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The future of international travel is definitely looking greener, but commercialization is still a long way off.

ZeroAvia just flew the biggest hydrogen-electric plane

ZeroAvia has just passed a significant milestone in its development. Its Dornier 228, a 100% electric nineteen-seater twin-engine, has just completed a ten-minute flight from Cotswold Airport in the UK. Among the investors funding this success is local government, with a leading position in the unicorn market in Europe.

Since its inception, ZeroAvia has raised no less $140 millionwith notably British Airways and United Airlines on board. The company’s ambitions are clear: to use renewable hydrogen to revolutionize the civil aviation market. The designer even wants to soon offer long-distance journeys with aircraft capable of accommodating more than one hundred passengers. Better yet: thanks to its own propulsion solution, the manufacturer claims to be able to make any machine compatible. Tomorrow, your ERJ 135 may therefore be much less polluting than today.

Deployment schedule

According to ZeroAvia, which is in the process of certifying its hydrogen technology to make it accessible to airlines, the first public lines could open as late as 2025. It is not yet clear who will be the charterers to sign in the first place, however the presence of United on board suggests that experiments will probably take place in the United States as well. To begin with, only small planes will be eligible.

A year later, ZeroAvia intends to move up a gear by equipping fuselages with forty to eighty seats. A figure that will double from 2030, with ambitions for jumbo jetsraised to 2040. At the same time, however, the project will have to deal with SpaceX's Starship rocket, which also intends to aim for long-haul, but at a much higher velocity…

The Dornier 228 , a safe bet

The choice of a Dornier 228 for this first British flight was not trivial. This device dates back to 1982 and nearly two hundred units are still in circulation according to official data. Nicknamed the 'Sky Truck', this model is renowned for excellent short field performance. Only downside: there is currently only one proper simulator in the world, and you have to go to Germany to use it.

To power the Dornier 228, the manufacturer originally chose to rely on Garrett TPE331 turboprops. They are also found on other well-known aircraft, such as the Cessna 441 Conquest 2 or the BAe Aerospace Jetstream 41.

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