France’s First Manned Hydrogen-Electric Flight by Beyond Aero

By February 28, 2024 4   min read  (776 words)

February 28, 2024 |

2024 02 27 16 06 04 1
  • Complete test flight campaign validated in South France, with 10
    takes-off including 2 complete full flight, making it France’s first electric aircraft manned on fully hydrogen-electric propulsion with an hybridation ratio of ⅔ gaseous hydrogen to ⅓ batteries.
  • This 85kW aircraft serves as a demonstrator, validating the feasibility of Beyond Aero’s powertrain architecture as well as the manufacturer’s capability to make possible, certifiable and profitable the first electric business aircraft designed for hydrogen propulsion.
  • Beyond Aero has now joined the select group of aircraft manufacturers worldwide that have successfully made a manned electric aircraft fly.

Beyond Aero, the aircraft manufacturer, successfully completed France’s first manned flight powered entirely by hydrogen-electric technology in February 2024. The flight, piloted by the experienced Paul Prudent, was aboard the Blériot prototype. Named in honor of the pioneering French aviator Louis Blériot, known for making the first airplane flight across the English Channel, the aircraft is a retrofit from a ULA aircraft model G1 SPYL-XL.

The propulsion system is 100% hydrogen-electric, driving a single propeller. The powertrain, showcased at the last Paris Air Show in June on a bench, features an unprecedented hybridization ratio: two-thirds of its power comes from a hydrogen fuel cell, with the remaining third supplied by batteries.

Starting in January, the flight test campaign was conducted at the Gap-Tallard airfield, over the skies of Southern France. The Beyond Aero team completed 10 takeoffs, including 2 complete flights, reaching an altitude of 2,300 feet above sea level and a climbing speed of 110 km/h.
The Blériot prototype operates on 1.2 kg of gaseous hydrogen stored in three tanks at 340 bar, generating a maximum electrical power of 85 kW. This achievement stems from a rigorous three-month ground testing campaign that ocused on the reliability of the powertrain, culminating in successful fixed-point tests at 170 kg thrust and validated rolling tests.

By completing France’s first manned, fully hydrogen-electric flight, Beyond Aero has validated its initial demonstrator. This successful flight test campaign underscores the feasibility of the manufacturer’s powertrain architecture, with the goal of making possible, certifiable and profitable, the first electric business aircraft designed for hydrogen propulsion within the decade.

Eloa Guillotin, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer said: “An idea is nothing until a team, bold enough, makes it happen. My deepest gratitude goes to Hugo, Matthieu, Luc, our partners and investors who trusted us in this adventure. It’s a big milestone for the company but only the beginning for the New Aero industry. We’ve continued France’s pioneering legacy in aerospace and mixed it with the modern American mindset to define the next chapter with action. Aviation will be electric, let’s make it happen together!”

Hugo Tarlé, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer said: “After unveiling the powertrain components at the Paris Air Show in June 2023, Beyond Aero completed this prototype’s development with a successful flight test campaign. It’s the culmination of two years’ hard work by our teams and collaboration within a network of partners with a real technological expertise, starting with G1 Aviation, but also H2 Motronics, AF Micado, and Faster Group. This achievement is one of the founding stages of Beyond Aero’s mission in hydrogen-electric aviation.”

Dr Matthieu Pettes-Duler, Head of Powertrain said: “When Blériot landed, it was at this moment that I fully realized that Beyond Aero had just achieved a major milestone in its development. Seeing this single-engine aircraft make its first flight with nominal parameters underlines the achievement of years of dedicated effort to get our hydrogen-electric vision off the ground. Many thanks to our exceptional test pilot, Paul Prudent, and the entire dedicated team who made this project a reality.”

About Beyond Aero

Beyond Aero is building the first electric business aircraft powered with hydrogen propulsion enabling six passengers to fly up to 800 NM, five times further than a battery-powered aircraft.
Founded in December 2020, the company is redesigning the architecture of a CS23 aircraft around the hydrogen-electric propulsion, working on fuel cells and batteries hybridization, hydrogen tanks integration and cooling system. With offices in Toulouse and Los Angeles, the start-up boasts a team of +35 highly qualified engineers from leading aerospace companies, currently recruiting 20 more.
Beyond Aero has booked Letters of Intent (LOIs) for the first 2 years of production of the business aircraft in developpement, as well as investor interest with over $24 million raised to date. The company recently completed the flight test campaign of an 85 kW aircraft propulsion system – the most powerful in the European Union – and first hydrogen powered electric aircraft of France.



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