ZeroAvia conducts first flight of hydrogen-powered Dornier 228

On the 19th of January, ZeroAvia successfully conducted the first test flight of its 19-seat Dornier 228 twin-engine aircraft from Cotswold Airport as part of its government-backed HyFlyer II project which will see the firm develop the first certifiable hydrogen-electric powertrain powering commercial aircraft with up to 19 seats.

ZeroAvia has been based at Cotswold Airport, from where the flight was conducted, since 2021, and has set itself the target of offering commercial flights using only hydrogen fuel cell power by 2025, prior to upscaling the current engine to fit larger aircraft with the eventual aim of offering a 200+ seat powerplant by 2040.

The former Aurigny aircraft flew a ten-minute circuit around Cotswold Airport, with its left-hand engine powered by ZeroAvia’s ZA600 fuel-cell, and reached an altitude of 2.000ft and speed of 120kts. The firm hopes to operate a campaign of up to twenty test flights with a duration of 35 minutes, the longest time currently demonstrated by ground runs at Cotswold Airport. Following this test campaign, ZeroAvia aims to release its initial commercial offering for the ZA600 with deliveries to begin in 2025.

Val Miftakhov, founder and CEO of ZeroAvia, said: “This is a major moment, not just for [us], but for the aviation industry as a whole, as it shows that true zero-emission commercial flight is only a few years away. The first flight of our 19-seat aircraft shows just how scalable our technology is and highlights the rapid progress of zero emission propulsion.”

He added that, “This is only the beginning – we are building the future of sustainable, zero climate impact aviation. Our approach is the best solution to accelerate clean aviation at scale.”

ZeroAvia’s press release adds that this flight marks a major innovation success for the UK Government’s Jet Zero Strategy, which aims to achieve net-zero aviation by 2050. Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for business, and former Transport Minister, proclaimed that, “The flight is a hugely exciting vision of the future – guilt-free flying and a big step forward for zero-emission air travel. It also demonstrates how government funding for projects like these is translating into net zero growth.”