In an exciting week for the aviation industry with Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates showing their support for sustainable aviation, Faradair Aerospace revealed a consortium of partners to bring back large scale aircraft production to the UK.
The British start-up, headed by aviation entrepreneur Neil Cloughley and based at the historic airfield at IWM Duxford, Cambridgeshire, announced on 17 December that it has attracted a strong consortium of partners to help it deliver 300 of its new Bio Electric Hybrid Aircraft (BEHA) by 2030, in a global demonstration of regional air mobility and special missions.
Faradair says Honeywell, magniX, Cambridge Consultants and Nova Systems, all leaders in the emerging sustainable aviation sector, will join its existing partnership team.
Faradair will work with Honeywell on the BEHA turbogenerator, comprised of Honeywell’s gas turbine and generator technologies, with the ability to run on sustainable aviation fuel, to support the hybrid-electric aircraft design in addition to other technologies, including avionics and flight control systems.
magniX, regarded by many as the leading provider of electric motors to the aviation industry, will provide two magni500 e-motors and associated magniDrive control system technology for flight propulsion for BEHA.
Cambridge Consultants brings its expertise in hybrid propulsion architecture to the development of the BEHA’s hybrid propulsion system, integrating the turbine and flight e-motors.
Nova Systems, a specialist in aircraft design, test, evaluation and certification, will assist Faradair through the early prototype development stages, reassuring certification authorities that the aircraft is being developed and built to the standards of existing and future regulations for sustainable aviation technologies.
In line with UK Government ambitions for sustainable air transport, the British designed and built BEHA will emerge in hybrid electric/turbine configuration, but engineered for evolution into a fully electric ‘net zero’ commercial aircraft when power generation technology delivers the power density levels required for an 18-seat utility aircraft. The BEHA is specifically designed for low cost, quiet, environmentally friendly flight, qualities that enable it to deliver Air Mobility as a Service (AMaaS) to all.
The ambition is to deliver an initial portfolio of 300 Faradair-owned BEHAs between 2026-2030, in the largest proof of concept air mobility program ever created. Of these, 150 aircraft will be built in firefighting configuration, 75 as quick change (QC, passenger to cargo) aircraft, deployed at general aviation airfields globally, and 50 as pure freighters. The final 25 aircraft will be demonstrated in non-civilian government roles, including logistics, border and fisheries patrol, and drug interdiction.
Commenting on these significant partnerships, Faradair Founder and Managing Director Neil Cloughley stated: “The year 2020 has been an extremely tough year for aerospace and I am delighted to be able to share this positive news today, not only for the UK aerospace sector, but the sustainable aerospace sector globally.
“We are honored to announce our collaboration with these leading organizations. Their input will enable us to deliver the BEHA prototype by 2024 and subsequent Part 23 certification for operational trials from 2026. Gaining such support validates our business model and capability of the BEHA.”
Stéphane Fymat, vice president and general manager for UAS/UAM at Honeywell said: “We are proud be part of this development program that works toward new methods of transportation that are quieter, cleaner and more efficient. Our work with Faradair demonstrates our ongoing commitment to supporting the future of flight.”
magniX CEO Roei Ganzarski, commented: “The BEHA is an exciting development program in the electric aviation revolution and one that magniX is delighted to be a part of. It embodies the next step in sustainable regional air transport.”
Gary Kemp, program director at Cambridge Consultants said: “Cambridge Consultant is proud to be working with Faradair on development of the BEHA, an aircraft that will minimize the environmental impact of aviation emissions and noise while achieving exceptional range, endurance and payload capacity.”
Tim Butler, Fixed Wing program manager and test pilot at Nova Systems, stated: “We are delighted to team with Faradair on this exciting, innovative British project. Nova looks forward to providing its significant experience in flight testing to help solve the complex problems of making a cutting-edge concept into an everyday reality. Working on game-changing programs and developing green aviation technology, is exactly what excites us at Nova and we can’t wait to get the BEHA flying.”
Talks are now advancing at pace with investors and aircraft finance organizations to enable the full program of development to scale up and meet the target objectives. Meanwhile, Faradair is building its executive and engineering team, and expects to make further announcements early in 2021.
“We will have more exciting news to share in the New Year, but the age of the Electric Jet has begun,” added Neil Cloughley, who moved Faradair HQ from Gloucestershire to the renowned technology innovation area of Cambridgeshire in September.