VoltAero today achieved the first flight with its Cassio hybrid-electric aircraft. The French company is looking to fast track type certification of the nine-seater by the end of 2021 and be ready to make first deliveries in early 2022.
The Cassio, which is similar in design to a Cessna 337 Skymaster, is intended for roles such as private transportation and air-taxi flights. It is powered by a pair of 80-hp Safran ENGINeUS 45 electric motors with forward-facing propellers and three 80-hp Emrax electric motors driving a rear pusher prop. The aircraft also has a 402-hp internal combustion engine (based on a Nissan V6 design) that recharges the battery pack and provides redundancy and supplementary power.
The first flight at VoltAero’s headquarters at Medis in western France took place around two weeks ahead of schedule. VoltAero was founded in 2018 by former Airbus chief technology officer Jean Botti and his technical director Didier Esteyne, who together helped to lead the European manufacturer’s E-Fan electric aircraft program.
With hybrid electric power, the fixed-wing Cassio is expected to have a maximum flight duration of up to three and a half hours and a cruise speed of around 200 knots. In all-electric mode, it should be able to fly for up to 30 minutes, including takeoff and landing.