First deliveries of hybrid-electric four to nine seater aircraft VoltAero Cassio expected in 2021-22

VoltAero is demonstrating how its distributed hybrid-electric propulsion system can be used for quiet, safe and more environmentally friendly flight.

The VoltAero Cassio utilises a combination of electric motors and internal combustion engine in a “push-pull” configuration. A demonstrator, along with a ground-based “iron bird” system test rig, is set to validate VoltAero’s hybrid configuration for certification through late 2019.

VoltAero’s production aircraft will use lightweight composite materials and will from four to nine people. With a flight duration of at least three and a half hours, the aircraft will be suitable for applications including private owners, air taxi/charter companies and commercial flights for point-to-point regional travel.

Silent on take off and taxi

Jean Botti said the aircraft’s hybrid-electric propulsion system had been designed to reduce environmental impact. He explained: “The aircraft is silent on take off and taxi because none of the blades during taxi are running, you have an electric wheel to take you to the tarmac.”

“In the back, you’ve got a 480 kw hybrid module that allows you to take off using all electric, landing all electric, so you don’t disturb [people] – no pollution, no noise. And then when you are at certain altitude, you kick in a thermal engine which will allow you to get the hybridisation and the longevity which is around three and a half hours.”

Two modular power sources

Reliability and safety were also a key consideration for VoltAero. Botti added: “Not only do you want to have want long missions, but at the same time, you want to fly safely. This will have two sources of power and because it is very modular, you can act on one or the other one if you have any issues, so you have enough power to get you back to any airport to land safely with your crew.”

Deliveries of production aircraft are expected to begin between 2021-2022 from VoltAero’s final assembly facility in southwest France. VoltAero anticipates producing approximately 150 aircraft per year.

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