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Safety firm ARC in hydrogen-powered aircraft trials

ZeroAvia aircraft performing the electric-powered test flight (pic: Zero Avia)

An Edinburgh safety consultancy is playing a crucial part in trials of a pioneering hydrogen-powered aircraft.

Abbott Risk Consulting (ARC) is providing the safety assurance in the HyFlyer project which last month saw a Piper M-Class six-seater aircraft undergo test flights at Cranfield, culminating in  a 250-300 nautical mile demonstration flight out of Orkney.

The project aims to achieve the world’s first zero emissions commercially viable flight. In a significant milestone, the technology was successfully trialled by hydrogen fuel cell firm ZeroAvia at Cranfield on 22 June with the first-ever electric powered flight of a commercial scale aircraft in the UK.

Funded by Innovate UK and the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), the project aims to decarbonise medium-range small passenger aircraft by replacing conventional turboprop engines with electric motors, hydrogen fuel cells and gas storage.

The consortium also includes the European Marine Energy Centre and Intelligent Energy.

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ARC is providing the safety assurance of the demonstration phase of this innovative technology where standards and best practice are evolving in parallel to the technology.

Sergey Kiselev, head of Europe at ZeroAvia, said: “We are pleased to be working with ARC as we seek to address one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time, ensuring a sustainable future for aviation.

“The HyFlyer Project is an important part of that journey and our project goal of 300 nautical miles is equivalent to the distance from London to Edinburgh and will prove that zero emission aviation, powered by hydrogen, can play a key role within the UK and other countries’ transport strategies, enabling net zero targets to be met and improving productivity and regional prosperity across the UK.”

Leading the ARC contribution are principal consultants Ed Macfarlane and Jim Tough.

Mr Macfarlane commented: “The potential for hydrogen cell technologies to enable low-carbon light aircraft to take off is very exciting.

“This technology is of enormous significance in remote locations around the world, like the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, supported by its network of short aviation routes.

“It also raises interesting possibilities in conjunction with remote power generation and storage concepts.”

ARC is a £20m turnover employee-owned business with more than 100 consultants on sites throughout the UK and Australia, providing technical support in high-risk industries.

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