ZeroAvia has just passed a significant milestone in its development. His Dornier 228, a 100% electric nineteen-seater twin-engine, has just completed a ten-minute flight from Cotswold Airport in the UK. Among the investors who finance this success, we find the local government, with a leading position in the unicorn market in Europe.
Since its inception, ZeroAvia has raised no less than $140 million with notably British Airways and United Airlines on board. The company’s ambitions are clear: to use renewable hydrogen to revolutionize the civil aviation market. The designer even hopes to soon offer long-distance journeys with aircraft capable of accommodating more than one hundred passengers. Better still: thanks to its own propulsion solution, the manufacturer claims to be able to make any machine compatible. Tomorrow, your ERJ 135 will therefore perhaps be much less polluting than today.
According to ZeroAvia, which is in the process of certifying its hydrogen technology to make it accessible to airlines, the first public lines could open no later than 2025. It is not yet known who the charterers will be to sign in the first place, nevertheless the presence of United on board suggests that experiments will probably take place in the United States as well. To begin with, however, only small aircraft will be eligible.
A year later, ZeroAvia intends to move up a gear by equipping fuselages with forty to eighty seats. A figure that will double from 2030, with ambitions for jumbo jets extended to 2040. At the same time, however, the project will have to deal with SpaceX’s Starship rocket, which also intends to target long-haul, but at a much higher velocity…
The Dornier 228, a safe bet
The choice of a Dornier 228 for this first British flight is not trivial. This device dates back to 1982 and nearly two hundred units are still in circulation according to official data. Nicknamed the “truck of the sky”, this model is known for its excellent performance in short terrain. Only downside: there is currently only one simulator in good standing in the world, and you have to go to Germany to use it.
To power the Dornier 228, the manufacturer originally chose to bet on Garrett TPE331 turboprops. They are also found on other well-known aircraft, such as the Cessna 441 Conquest 2 or the BAe Aerospace Jetstream 41.