CAA grants ZeroAvia permit to start flight testing hydrogen-electric aircraft

British startup ZeroAvia has announced that the UK Civil Aviation Authority has granted it a permit to fly the Dornier 228 regional aircraft with newly-fitted hydrogen-electric engines.

The permission was a result of a series of successful ground tests, the company claims, and will enable the maiden flight of the aircraft to be conducted during 2023.

“We’re going to be starting 2023 in the best way possible, by demonstrating through flight that true zero-emission commercial flight is much closer than many think,” Val Miftakhov, the founder and CEO of ZeroAvia, says in the company’s press release.

A custom-built 600kW hydrogen-electric engine was fitted on the left wing of the Dornier 228 twin-engine regional aircraft.

This is the next step in ZeroAvia upscaling its testing. In 2020 the company completed the maiden flight of a Piper Malibu Mirage six-seater with a hydrogen electric engine. The airplane was damaged in a crash-landing during 2021.

While the incident resulted in some damage to the company’s reputation, ZeroAvia continued to announce ambitious plans that included expansion to foreign markets and testing of new airframes.

It partnered with ASG Airports on the development of airport infrastructure for hydrogen aircraft, as well as signing agreements with companies such as United Airlines, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines, receiving significant investment and paving way for the use of hydrogen-electric engines on their regional aircraft.

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