Hybrid-electric Cassio aircraft to tour France following successful test flights

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VoltAero’s Cassio hybrid-electric test aircraft is to be toured around France following a series of successful flights using its new powertrain.

VoltAero is developing a family of four- to 10-seat Cassio airplanes to be powered by the company’s proprietary hybrid-electric power module. Based at the Royan-Médis Airport in southwestern France, VoltAero aims to deliver Cassio production aircraft from late 2022.

The Cassio 1 aircraft to go on tour is the flying testbed being used to validate the technologies for the production versions. Cassio 1 was flown with its hybrid-electric power module for the first time on October 13, 2020 – previous test flights had been flown in hybrid-electric mode using two wing-mounted ENGINeUS 45 electric motors supplied by Safran operated in the forward-facing “puller” position.

The cross-country demonstration tour in France will visit 11 destinations, weather permitting, during October 26-31, with French airport operator Edeis providing logistics assistance during the six-day trip.

VoltAero has also announced a longer term partnership with Edeis, to provide resources for Cassio, such as infrastructure, airspace support services, distribution centers, training schools and MRO facilities.

The proprietary hybrid-electric power module combines electric motors and internal combustion engines in an aft-fuselage “pusher” position, with one or both in use depending on the flight scenario. Typically Cassio’s electrical motors would be used for take-offs and landings, with the internal combustion engine serving as a range extender once Cassio is airborne.

Production Cassio aircraft will have a power module with propulsive power ranging from 330 to 600 kilowatts, corresponding to the four-, six- and 10-seat versions. The Cassio 1 flight test aircraft is equipped with VoltAero’s power module in its 600-kilowatt version.

“The tour will highlight how French aviation and transportation players can bring their innovation to meet the growing challenges faced in regional mobility,” said Olivier Galzi, the managing director of Edeis. “Maintaining appropriate levels of air service is more crucial than ever for small- and medium-sized companies, especially those who suffer from the decreasing operations of scheduled airlines. With Cassio, regional service can be assured, while also providing the benefits of low-noise operations at airports and reduced carbon dioxide emissions that come with hybrid-electric aviation.”

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before eventually becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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