Unmanned Long-Range Hydrogen Aircraft to Start Pioneering Flights in France

H3 Dynamics wants to go from unmanned hydrogen cargo aircraft to manned passenger flights 7 photos
Photo: H3 Dynamics
Hydrogen Aircraft PrototypeHydrogen Aircraft PrototypePropulsion NacelleHydrogen Aircraft PrototypeHydrogen Aircraft PrototypePropulsion Nacelle
A part of the aviation community believes that hydrogen-based propulsion systems for commercial aircraft are still a far-away potential solution for zero emissions, but there are a few companies out there trying to make things happen sooner rather than later. One of them, H3 Dynamics, can be considered a hydrogen-electric specialist, and its long-range unmanned aircraft is about to start conducting test flights very soon.
H3 Dynamics wants its hydrogen systems for aviation to be not only the most advanced but also the most reliable, which is why it’s “progressing cautiously” from drones and autonomous cargo aircraft to manned passenger aircraft. It has been working with hydrogen fuel cell systems for over 16 years, collaborating with universities and specialized laboratories for aircraft integration, and it’s currently involved in several research programs in this domain all over the world.

After hitting a major milestone for its hydrogen-powered drone, the Hycopter, which recently became the first unmanned vehicle of its kind to be certified by the Japanese government, the aviation company is now gearing up for another major debut. Its first long-range unmanned fixed-wing aircraft, powered by hydrogen, is in the final stages of ground testing before the first test flights are due to begin.

This aircraft is part of the MERMOZ program, launched by H3 Dynamics and ISAE-Supaero in 2018, with support from the European Fund for Regional Development and the Occitane Region in France. 2018 is also the year when H3 Dynamics filed patents for its hydrogen propulsion system and refueling system, which are being developed at the company’s centers in Austin, Texas, and Toulouse, France.

The Hywings H-25 Cargo prototype has a 55-lb (25 kg) take-off weight, and it features the company’s unique long-endurance propulsion nacelle, versatile enough to be customized for various types of aircraft, from drones to larger passenger aircraft.

This unmanned hydrogen test aircraft has just completed wind tunnel tests at the Toulouse center, and it going to start flying within the next couple of months in France.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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