Hybrid-Electric Aircraft Has First Test Flight
A new hybrid-electric aircraft from VoltAero just completed its first test flight on the way to certification. VoltAero plans to have the new aircraft, Cassio, certified in three years and to be manufacturing 150 aircraft a year by 2025. While this plan seems a bit ahead of the game with just a prototype, we’re willing to check it out and watch the test flight video. Watch it for yourself!
VoltAero is an aviation startup based in Royan, France, and they’re looking to be one of the first companies to break into the new hybrid-electric market with its 4-9 seat hybrid aircraft. Jean Botti, former chief technology officer at Airbus, is the head of VoltAero and led the development of the E-Fan electric aircraft by Airbus.
“I am very pleased with the testing as we accumulate time aloft and open up the aircraft’s flight envelope,” said Botti. “The current test phase is with the powertrain for our six-seat Cassio version, to be followed by validation of the final aerodynamic and powertrain configurations on both the four- and nine-seat Cassio versions.”
The Cassio is a modified Cessna 337 Skymaster, which was chosen for its airframe adaptability to the “push-pull” propulsion system. Earlier in 2020, engineers removed the Cessna’s original engine and replaced it with a smooth nose fairing. Hybrid power modules replaced the previously rear-mounted motor.
Each wing of the Cessna accommodates two EngineUS 45 motors and lithium-ion batteries for “pull” propulsion, a completely electric operation, mainly used for takeoff and landing to reduce emissions.
The planned final version of the Cassio will need to weigh 2.5 tons to pass EASA’s CS-23 certification, the cruising speed will be faster than models made by competitors such as Cirrus and Cessna at 200 knots with a range of 800km. It produces 20% fewer emissions than similar aircraft using 600kW of power.
“I am convinced this is the future of general aviation. The lower cost of ownership [with lower maintenance and fuel costs] and [an emerging market] work well together. We need to better use the small airport infrastructure. Most of them are idle,” said Botti.
This sounds like an exciting development in new aircraft technology and we can’t wait to see where it ends up. At Norfolk Aviation, we’re committed to providing you the latest in aviation news. We’re also your trusted partner in aircraft brokerage. Whether you’re buying, selling, or customizing, put our expertise to work for you. Take a look at the least aircraft in our inventory and contact us today!