VoltAero’s Cassio hybrid-electric aircraft takes off for demo tour


VoltAero’s hybrid-electric Cassio 1 demonstrator aircraft is making a 6-day demonstration tour around France to demonstrate its capabilities to make short and medium trips.

Cassio 1 is expected to depart from France’s Atlantic seaport city of Lorient today and make 10 stopovers in a flight plan that covers destinations in the country’s north, east and south, before returning to the west for its conclusion on July 11 at Rochefort.

This first-ever travel circuit of its type by a hybrid-electric aircraft will involve stopovers at Tours, Le Havre, Toussus-le-Noble (in the Paris region), Troyes, Dijon, Annecy, Aix-en- Provence, Nimes and Toulouse.

The trip’s segments represent typical regional short- and medium-haul flights that can be efficiently served by hybrid-electric aircraft. The entire tour will cover a distance of more than 1,440 nautical miles (2,600km) for a combined flight time of approximately 28 hours.

Jean Botti, VoltAero’s CEO and chief technology officer “With Cassio 1’s French tour, we are providing realistic examples of how our future family of Cassio airplanes will bring reliable and eco-friendly air service to regions that – more than ever – require such connections.

“Such service will have the full benefits of low-noise operations and reduced CO2 emissions that come with hybrid-electric aviation.”

The tour is being supported by French airport and infrastructure operator Edeis, which is providing logistics assistance.

Cassio 1 is a flying testbed engineers are using to validate its hybrid-electric powertrain – which combines electric motors and an internal combustion engine.

The Cassio aircraft uses its electrical motors during takeoffs and landings and its internal combustion engine during cruise as a range extender.

The aircraft uses two forward-mounted Safran Electrical & Power ENGINeUS electric motors, which VoltAero is using in performance verifications as part of its flight test program.

VoltAero has conducted 105 test flights with the Cassio 1 demonstrator aircraft, logging 76 total flight hours.

The company plans to produce several variants of the Cassio.

The first to be built will be the four-seat Cassio 330, which will offer a combined hybrid-electric power of 330kW and is planned for first deliveries between June and December 2023

The 330 will be to be followed by the higher-powered Cassio 480 and 600,.

Cassio aircraft are to have a cruise speed of 200 knots (360 km/h), with an airport take-off/landing distance of less than 1,800ft.

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering 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 becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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