This testing is a major step toward validating the electric and hybrid-electric powertrains for Cassio aircraft. It keeps the company on track in evolving a family of airplanes with four to nine seats, tailored for operation by private owners, air taxi/charter companies, in commercial flights for point-to-point regional travel, and in various utility-category applications.
“I am very pleased with the testing as we accumulate time aloft and open up the aircraft’s flight envelope,” said Jean Botti, VoltAero’s CEO and chief technical officer. “The current test phase is with the powertrain for our six-seat Cassio version, to be followed by validation of the final aerodynamic and powertrain configurations on both the four- and nine-seat Cassio versions.”
The current flight evaluations use VoltAero’s Cassio 1 testbed aircraft, with the two ENGINeUS 45 electric motors installed in forward-facing positions on the wings. Cassio 1 is piloted by Technical Director Didier Esteyne, operating from VoltAero’s headquarters facility at the Royan-Médis Aérodrome in France.
“Flying on the power of Safran’s ENGINeUS motors is truly remarkable, with no vibration and extremely low noise levels,” Esteyne explained. “It confirms that our Cassio aircraft will bring an entirely new experience to aviation.”
In its full-up nine-seat version, the Cassio aircraft will use electric motors along with VoltAero’s proprietary aft-facing hybrid power module, which brings together an internal combustion engine and three electric motors. The prototype VoltAero hybrid power module continues its validation on a ground-based rig, preparing for a subsequent integration on the Cassio 1 testbed aircraft.
“Safran is proud to be powering the Cassio 1 aircraft as VoltAero brings a new dimension to electric aviation,” said Hervé Blanc, executive vice president and general manager of the Electrical Systems and Motors Division at Safran Electrical & Power. “We are fully committed to supporting VoltAero throughout the flight test phase and look forward to the company’s future production of Cassio aircraft.”
Watch a video of VoltAero hybrid-electric flight testing with the Cassio 1 testbed aircraft.