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Article from BTNews 28 SEPTEMBER 2020

First hydrogen-electric passenger plane flight

Cranfield University airfield in England was last Thursday (24 September) the venue of what is claimed to be the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell-powered flight of a commercial-grade aircraft.

Using a Piper M class six-seat aircraft (PA46) ZeroAvia’s R&D facility hosted a flight programme which included a full pattern circuit and safe landing.This major milestone on the road to commercial zero-emission flight is part of the HyFlyer project, a sequential R&D programme supported by the UK Government and follows the UK’s first ever commercial-scale battery-electric flight, conducted in the same aircraft in June. (See also Jet Zero Council launched in this week's BTN.)

ZeroAvia will now turn its attention to the next and final stage of its six-seat development programme – a 250-mile zero emission flight – out of an airfield in Orkney before the end of the year. The demonstration of this range is roughly equivalent to busy major routes such as Los Angeles to San Francisco or London to Edinburgh.


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David Starkie, London

My earlier understanding was that Cranfield were using the BN Islander as a test bed for electric flight. Shame development seems to have gravitated to a Piper. The BN aircraft is the only complete airframe still assembled in the UK.