HY4 is a four-seat hydrogen fuel cells technology demonstrator. A team led by Prof. Josef Kallo from the DLR Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics at the German Aerospace Center has been developing HY4’s powertrain and worked with industry and research partners Pipistrel, H2FLY, the University of Ulm, and Stuttgart Airport to make the maiden flight in 2016 a reality.
Since HY4 has more than one seat, it literally can be called the world’s first passenger aircraft powered by a hydrogen fuel cell system. Down the road, the team is partnering with Deutsche Aircraft to develop a hydrogen-powered Dornier 328, a 40-seat aircraft covering up to 2000 km, by 2025.
The aircraft was built by the Slovenian airplane manufacturer Pipistrel, and consists of two Pipistrel Taurus G4 motorglider fuselages connected by a common central-wing section on top of which the propulsion unit is located. This consists of an 80kw electric motor with the propeller in front and three low-temperature hydrogen fuel cells behind. The hydrogen is carried in two high-pressure tanks made of carbon fiber, located in each of the two fuselages just aft of the passenger cabin. HY4, as a technology demonstrator, can fly at a cruising speed of 145km/h and maximum speed of approximately 200km/h. Its range varies from 750km to 1,500km, depending on the speed, load and altitude parameters. The empty weight of HY4 without the fuel cell, battery and storage system is approximately 630kg, whereas the maximum weight is 1,500kg.
With the success of HY4, the team aimed more ambitious goals. In 2021 H2FLY, the managerial body of HY4 project, secured a large funding both through a strategic investor and a wide range of government-backed research grants. A sixth-generation fuel cell engine, powering the latest HY4 model, was designed by Josef Kallo and his team. Despite the difficult circumstances, the modified HY4 took off on 6 November 2020, in Slovenia, towards a new horizon of commercial prospect.
Drawing a large crowd everyday during show, the H3PS project’s demonstrator airplane located at the front row of A7 hall dedicated to “e-Flight-Expo” was certainly a highlight at AERO 2022. It is jointly developed by Tecnam Aircraft, Rolls-Royce and Rotax’s specialized teams and successfully flew for the first time on 21 December, 2021. The flight was performed by Tecnam’s Chief Experimental Test Pilot Lorenzo De Stefano, with Tecnam, Rolls-Royce and Rotax Teams on the ground. The Permit to Fly was issued by ENAC, the Italian Civil Aviation Authority.
H3PS stands for “High Power High Scalability Aircraft Hybrid Powertrain”. It is a project funded in 2018 under the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. With H3PS’ success, Tecnam Aircraft and project partners have validated the aircraft’s scalability potential, lower emissions, state of the art power management technology, building a viable launchpad for future green aircraft models.
H3PS is converted from Tecnam P2010 single-engine four-seat airplane. The airplane is normally powered by a 180hp Lycoming IO-360 combustion engine, but the H3PS demonstrator is converted to a 104kW Rotax 915iS engine coupled with a 30kW Rolls-Royce electric motor, totaling 134kW (180hp) powertrain in a fully integrated parallel hybrid configuration. As such, H3PS aircraft is first of its kind of parallel hybrid electric airplane.
Not intended for market purposes, the H3PS demonstrator airplane served as a validation tool and launchpad for Tecnam Aircraft and its project partners, who are now focused on expanding their sustainability efforts. As an EU-funded research project, H3PS has limits of duration and budget and is thus more for research and technology demonstration purposes rather than for commercial use. However, as the participating partners of the project mentioned, the technology and experiences obtained from H3PS will be transferred to other application which are intended for commercial use. Tecnam’s P-Volt is such case.
A Chinese eVTOL startup named WEFLY annouced that they have closed angel financing of “several tens of millions USD”. The company claims that their team come from veteran OEM with FAA and EASA certification experiences. The company however does not reveal any aircraft design details in the annoucement except for indicating that they are working on a passenger-carrying eVTOL design. The following image which appears to be vertiport with a company logo is the only image disclosed by the company as of today.
A Chinese eVTOL startup named Windrider annouced that they closed series A round of”several tens of millions RMB” and has received total investment of “near 100 millions RMB (around 150mn USD)” since setup.
The company has begun test flying a sub-scale model which, along with the conceptual design graphic, indicate that their eVTOL design has lift+cruise configuration.
One day before the official opening of the first AERO Friedrichshafen since more than 2 years, several manufacturers featured their new developments on the AERO Media day. Most of the featured items are electric aircraft. The media tour was attended by over 60 Journalist from around the wold.
Electric fixed wing aircraft from Flight Design, Pipistrel ( Now part of Textron Aviation ) , Electra Solar, H55 as featured here.
On their booth in the e-flight-expo hall 7, Rolls-Royce Electrical did show not only the H3PS hybrid-electrical research project, but also the drive train for the Vertical Aerospace eVTOL.
Two highlights did stick out: the eMagicOne eVTOL and the H2fly 4 seat fuel Cell aircraft definitely drew most of the journalists’ attention.
And there are many more electric aircraft and detail solutions to be seen at the exhibits of the 634 AERO Exhibitors.
As AERO–the largest general aviation trade show in Europe, and the first and the largest electric aviation trade show in the world–e-Flight-Expo–are going to take place from 27-30 April in Friedrichshafen, Germany, there are many exciting product releases and market development at the show after a two-year postpone due to the pandemic.
As the co-founder and co-organizer of e-Flight-Expo, we publish Aero and e-Flight-Expo special edition as usual and they are now online for FREE! Even better, they are available in English, German and Chinese lanuages. You can read it here: https://www.flying-pages.com/index.php?id=1462
We will report more show news on the ground and are looking forward to meetign you at our booth No.100 in hall A7–the begining of the “sustainable aviation trail” or SAT at the show. For more information about AERO and e-flight-expo, please visit the official webpage: https://www.aero-expo.com/about-aero/aero-branches/e-flight-expo
The Norwegian electric aviation startup Elfly is designing an fully electric-powered amphibian flying boat and has received $1.8 million funding from the Research Council of Norway. The hull’s design is currently being tested at SINTEF ‘s tow tank in Trondheim. The research that will provide data for the design of the optimal hull is a separate research project supported by Norway’s Regional Research Fund.
According to the CEO of Elfly Eric Lithun, the goal is to be able to offer flexible mobility in Norway, have zero emissions, significantly less noise pollution and develop new sustainable business models. The design goal is to fly 200km at about 250 km/hour. Lithun hopes that with this electric flying boat, the travel time from Bergen to Stavanger will be 40 minutes compared to four to five hours by car. Eventually the electric flying boat will able to fly from Bergen to Trondheim via a stopover in Molde, which will be noticeable from center to center and will beat all other options even with a stopover. Lithun believes that the main reason why seaplanes are not already widespread is because today’s aircraft have internal combustion engines that suck in oxygen and salt water that corrodes the engine which leads to sky-high maintenance costs to operate. By switching to electricity, this problem disappears.
The electric flying boat will have room for nine passengers, and Elfly will offer flights on a par with other commercial players. The goal of Elfly is to have 15 to 20 such flying boat in the air by 2030. In addition to passenger travel, the flying boat can also be used for freight transport, ambulance transport and premium flights where you can charter the entire aircraft. Lithun envisages that it can be used for exclusive electric plane safaris.