A pioneering design for a Hybrid Electric Regional Aircraft (HERA) which will deliver a technical and commercial entry point for sustainable mass air transport was being unveiled during the virtual FIA Connect event. The design has been developed by the Electric Aviation Group (EAG), a UK-based engineering and development firm, which expects its first aircraft to be in service by 2028. They call the design “disruptive” and EAG says it has optimized the “latest technology, economics and operational parameters to create the design for the Hybrid Electric Regional Aircraft, to ensure it can solve the challenges of decarbonization and mass transportation.”
The design, which was unveiled to coincide with the opening of the virtual Farnborough Airshow (FIA Connect), has received unequivocal support from EAG’s JetZero consortium, which includes some of the UK’s leading engineering and manufacturing organizations 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 decarbonization,” commented 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 says they will draw on the rich heritage and strong aviation industry in Bristol, UK, 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 organization says it expects to 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,” said 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.”
EAG says their mission statement is “to develop differentiating, disruptive technologies that enable the design and manufacture of 70+ seat hybrid and all-electric aircraft that have a measurable impact on carbon emissions and noise.” Members of the EAG team include CEO Iqbal, a former Airbus and Bombardier executive who holds more than 25 patents (granted and pending) including one for EAG’s proprietary Urban Air Mobility Aircraft concept, Silene; Dr. Norman Wood, chief technology officer who spent nine years as senior post-doctoral researcher at Stanford University also a former Airbus exec; Dr. Behrooz Barzegar – ex-Airbus – head of Aerodynamics and Flight Physics;Prof. John M Price former VP of Airbus Landing Gear and VP of Energy and Propulsion at EADS Innovation Works and Professor Patrick Wheeler – head of the Power Electronics, Machines and Control Research Group, Global Director of the University of Nottingham’s Institute of Aerospace Technology and is the Li Dak Sum Chair professor in Electrical and Aerospace Engineering.
The EAG says their guiding principles are in response to the EU Flightpath 2050 targets. Those targets include a 75% reduction in CO2 emissions per passenger kilometer, a 90% reduction in NOx emissions and a 65% reduction in perceived noise. Progress during the last 50 years in addressing some of those factors, but EAG says the pace of improvement is slowing and believes it will take new aircraft technology and design to meet those targets.