DALLAS – Alaska Airlines (AS) has handed over a Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 to ZeroAvia to be retrofitted with a hydrogen-electric propulsion system ‘in an effort to expand the reach and applicability of zero emissions flight technology.’ Together the two aim to develop the world’s largest zero-emissions aircraft.
A special ceremony was held at Paine Field in Everett, Washington, where the airframe was handed over. AS and ZeroAvia representatives were joined by students from Raisbeck Aviation High School, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene and Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers.
The aircraft was a former Horizon Air (QX) example and was reserved for research and development when the carrier retired its Q400 fleet earlier this year. It was repainted in a special livery ‘to highlight the innovative mission of this partnership.’
“A Great Step Forward”
“This is a great step forward in aviation innovation, to help create a new future of flight – right here at home,” said Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci. “Alaska Airlines has defined a five-part journey to achieve net zero carbon emissions long-term, but we can’t get there alone. New technologies are required to make that future possible, and we’re thrilled to partner with industry leader ZeroAvia to make new zero-emissions options a reality.”
ZeroAvia also displayed its HyperCore electric motor system in a 1.8MW prototype configuration at the event. This was demonstrated with a propellor spin using the company’s 15-ton HyperTruck ground-test rig.
Val Miftakhov, founder and CEO of ZeroAvia, said, “Demonstrating this size of aircraft in flight, powered entirely by novel propulsion, would have been unthinkable a few years ago.
“Launching this program puts us on track for a test flight next year, and accelerates our progress toward the future of zero-emission flight for Alaska Airlines and for the world at large.”
Alaska Airlines joined forces with ZeroAvia in 2021. The airline aims to utilise its sizeable regional network to introduce zero-emissions propulsion technology for its regional aircraft.
ZeroAvia has been leading the way in the US and UK with its hydrogen-electric technology to introduce zero-emission flight. It is targeting a 300-mile range for 9-19 seat aircraft by 2025 with its ZA600 fuel cell system, increasing this to a 700-mile range in the 40-80 seat range by 2027 with its ZA2000 system.
It has been flying a modified Dornier 228, powered by a 600kW ZA600 hydrogen fuel cell system. It has already secured experimental certification for its three prototype airframes from the CAA and FAA and continues its test program.
ZeroAvia has also revealed that thanks to its recent advancements in testing, it now paves the way for the potential flight of the Q400 with its more powerful ZA2000 propulsion system.
Featured Image: The aircraft has been painted in a special livery ‘to highlight the innovative mission of this partnership.’ Photo: Alaska Airlines.