Textron subsidiary Pipistrel Aircraft flew the first piloted liquid hydrogen-powered electric aircraft last Friday. The HEAVEN project HY4 demonstrator took off from Maribor, Slovenia, with two pilots onboard and “demonstrated safe and efficient operation throughout multiple flight tests,” the company said. The hydrogen is used by a fuel cell that creates electricity for the electric motor. Pipistrel claims the use of liquid hydrogen instead of compressed hydrogen gas doubles the range of the aircraft to about 800 nautical miles.
Pipistrel Chief Engineer Tine Tomažič said the flight is a milestone in making emissions-free flight practical. “At Pipistrel, our aim is to be the pioneer of future flight and playing a role on the liquid hydrogen tank integration, we, along with all the other partners involved, are able to demonstrate the success of alternative sustainable fuels, ready to power the aircraft of tomorrow.”