ZeroAvia Completes Initial Flight Testing Of Hydrogen-Electric Powertrain


ZeroAvia wrapped up the initial flight test campaign of its ZA600 hydrogen-electric powertrain prototype last week. During the course of the ten-flight campaign, the test aircraft, a modified 19-seat Dornier 228, reached a maximum altitude of 5,000 feet and operated in temperatures ranging from “just above freezing to almost 30C.” Its longest flight lasted 23 minutes.

“Critically, throughout all phases of testing, the fuel cell power generation and electric propulsion system that are the core components of the novel zero-emission engine, performed at or above expectations,” ZeroAvia said. “The hydrogen-electric engine has matched the power of the conventional, fossil fuel engine on the opposite wing, with the pilots able to fly with thrust generated only from the experimental clean propulsion system in certain tests.”

ZeroAvia’s Dornier 228, which has a stock Honeywell TPE-331 engine on its right wing and the 600-kW ZA600 on its left wing, flew for the first time in January 2023. Flight testing took place at Cotswold Airport in Gloucestershire, U.K. According to the company, it is looking to develop a powertrain that can produce a 300-mile range in 9- to 19-seat aircraft by 2025 with the goal of scaling it up to a 700-mile range for 40- to 80-seat aircraft by 2027.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. HFC makes more sense than batteries. I still think it compares poorly to Jet A in terms of power density, packaging, weight, expense, and possibly safety but it could be made to work.