TECHNOLOGY for green planes of the future is taking off at an airport near Cirencester.
UK aerospace company ZeroAvia has completed a ground-breaking test flight of the world’s largest aircraft powered by a hydrogen-electric engine.
It successfully flew its Dornier 228 19-seat plane for the first time on Thursday afternoon (January 19) at Cotswold Airport in Kemble.
The company hopes that the technology will eventually usher in a new era of environmentally friendly aviation.
On board the plane are hydrogen fuel cells, which generate power by chemically reacting hydrogen and oxygen from the air.
This process generates no waste other than water. Unlike traditional aviation, which contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions.
At 1.35pm on Thursday the aircraft completed take-off, a full pattern circuit, and landing, lasting around 10 minutes in total.
ZeroAvia founder Val Miftakhov said: “This is a major moment, not just for ZeroAvia, 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.
“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.
“Congratulations to everyone on our team and all of our partners and stakeholders for the collective effort that brought us to this monumental day in history.”
Secretary of State for Business, Grant Shapps, said: “Thursday’s 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.”
ZeroAvia is currently on track to conduct commercial flights powered solely by hydrogen fuel cells by 2025.
It aims to operate 300-mile passenger flights with nine to 19-seat aircraft by 2025, and 700-mile flights with 40 to 80-seat aircraft by 2027.
The Dornier 228 will conduct a series of test flights from Kemble and later demonstration flights from other airports.