EAG Hybrid Electric Regional Aircraft (HERA). (Photo: Electric Aviation Group (EAG))
Electric Aviation Group (EAG), the UK-based engineering and development firm, has revealed plans for a pioneering design for a Hybrid Electric Regional Aircraft (HERA) which will deliver a technical and commercial entry point for sustainable mass air transport. The disruptive design is expected to be in service by 2028.
Key features are its whisper-quiet operation, airborne battery regeneration to minimise turn-around time, thermal management of motors and power electronics, Gear Assisted Take-Off Run (GATOR) giving rapid acceleration for a quick lift-off, STOL performance, and cabin-flex design enabling passenger operation during the day and cargo operation at night.
HERA has what is described as a future-proof design to accommodate alternative energy sources if available before 2030, and flexibility to transform into an all-electric or carbon-neutral as the battery density improves or alternative fuels and associated powertrain technologies mature and become affordable.
The design has received unequivocal support from EAG's JetZero consortium, which includes some of the UK's leading engineering and manufacturing organisations and senior academic advisors.
"Significant investments have been raised to develop sub-19 seat hybrid and all-electric aircraft which we believe is the wrong strategy. These small planes cannot meet the demands of mass air transportation or the requirements of decarbonisation," comments Kamran Iqbal, founder and CEO at EAG. "Our design is for an aircraft that will initially offer 800 nautical miles range at launch in 2028, and which will be able to carry over 70 people. We will be a first mover in what is a $4.4 trillion market."
EAG will draw on the rich heritage and strong aviation industry in Bristol when it begins production of the new aircraft for which it has already developed and filed a total of 25 patents covering a wide range of technologies. The organisation expects to initially create more than 25,000 jobs and unlock $5 billion investments in the UK aerospace industry.
"We expect this to be a great example of British design, engineering and build," adds Iqbal. "Not only will the development of the HERA help the Department of Transport accelerate its 'Jet Zero' carbon reduction goals, it will also help to create much needed job opportunities in the aerospace, manufacturing, engineering and services industries post-Brexit. This represents the future of both passenger and cargo flights internationally and as an opportunity for investment, it could not be better timed."
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