The biggest hydrogen aircraft made first fight
ZeroAvia company made first flight of hydrogen-electric aircraft HyFlyer created on the base six-seat passenger airplane Piper M350. Engineers claim that for current moment it is the biggest aircraft that is powered for flight by hydrogen.
Airplanes’ engineers and aviation authorities of developed countries tend to switch aviation to engines that do not produce hazardous emissions. As well as in automotive industry the main efforts of engineers are concentrated on fully electrified systems. But also there are projects of hybrid hydrogen-electric aircrafts. Electric engines are still directly responsible for motion but they receive energy from fuel elements that link together hydrogen from the tanks and oxygen from environment generating flow of current.
Potentially pressed or liquefied hydrogen may provide much more power density than even up-to-date accumulators but hydrogen engine systems are more complex than fully electric and besides there are difficulties with hydrogen storage that is why at the moment hydrogen aviation is behind the electric aviation.
American ZeroAvia founded in California is engineering small passenger hydrogen airplane on the base of existing production airplane Piper M350. It has classic construction of low-winged aircraft with front thrust intended for six people. In modified ZeroAvia version in the cabin are located not seats for passengers but three tanks with pressed hydrogen that deliver hydrogen to fuel cells. Also the airplane has accumulator that is why in June engineers managed to get it off the ground without fuel cells and tanks.
During new tests on September 24th on the air field in Britain Cranfield engineers for the first time tested full version of HyFlyer that receives energy from hydrogen. Pilot managed to get off successfully, make flight according to fixed path and land the airplane back on runway without incidents.
Till the end of the year company plans to make long-haul flight at on the Scottish Orkney Islands. It is supposed that the airplane will overcome about 400 kilometers.
There are also projects of hydrogen airplanes in China and Russia. And recently about the plans to engineer hydrogen passenger airplanes announced Airbus company.