Hydrogen-powered plane crashes during test flight at Cranfield

ZeroAvia’s R&D aircraft crashed during a routine test flight just outside Cranfield airport. Image: Reader photo
International aviation publications, asked to use our coverage after breaking the news ZeroAvia’s R&D aircraft had crashed during a routine test flight just outside Cranfield airport in March 2021. Image: Reader photo

A hydrogen-powered plane hailed as the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell-powered commercial-grade aircraft has crashed just outside of Cranfield airport.

ZeroAvia’s R&D aircraft made an emergency landing just outside the airport perimeter in a field during a routine pattern test flight. No one was hurt.

A spokesperson for ZeroAvia said the incident was immediately reported to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch, and the Fire Service attended on the ground, which is standard procedure.

“The aircraft landed on its wheels, but the wing was damaged as it came to a halt at a low speed on uneven terrain,” they added.

The aircraft has now been moved from the field and ZeroAvia will begin investigating the crash and analyzing data to find out what happened.

The aircraft is part of the UK government’s HyFlyer project, which ZeroAvia is working together with the European Marine Energy Centre and Intelligent Energy to research low carbon power for aircraft.

Read: Two Bedford Borough aerospace businesses handed £30 million for “ambitious projects”

The aircraft first flew a successful test flight in September 2020, completing taxi, takeoff, a full pattern circuit, and landing.

Speaking after the first flight, ZeroAvia said in a statement this was “the first step to realising the transformational possibilities of moving from fossil fuels to zero-emission hydrogen as the primary energy source for commercial aviation.

“Eventually, and without any new fundamental science required, hydrogen-powered aircraft will match the flight distances and payload of the current fossil fuel aircraft.”

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