Cranfield University supported ZeroAvia in achieving the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell powered flight of a commercial-grade aircraft. The flight took place yesterday at the company’s R&D facility at the University-owned Cranfield Airport.

The Piper M-class six-seat plane completed taxi, takeoff, a full pattern circuit, before landing back at the airport. The flight was watched by the Aviation Minister, Robert Courts. ZeroAvia were assisted by Cranfield Aerospace Solutions in achieving certification from the Civil Aviation Authority for the aircraft.

Commenting on the achievement by ZeroAvia, Professor Iain Gray, Director of Aerospace at Cranfield University, said: “This is a momentous day for the aerospace and the aviation industry. Arguably, this is as a big a moment in aerospace as any in the last 75 years, comparable with the first flight of the jet engine.

“Thanks to ZeroAvia, it is fantastic to see the UK leading the world in moves to zero-emission aviation and this could be the start of the UK leading the world in a new generation of hydrogen aircraft. We are tremendously proud that ZeroAvia has chosen to develop their technology at our global research airport and we look forward to continuing to support their efforts.”

Rob Abbott, Director of Aviation Operations at Cranfield University, said: “All of us at Cranfield Airport are proud to have supported the world’s first hydrogen-powered, commercial-grade aircraft flight by ZeroAvia. This marks another momentous occasion for the airport and demonstrates further our commitment to innovation.”

Paul Hutton, Chief Executive of Cranfield Aerospace Solutions, said: “We are thrilled to have played our part in assisting ZeroAvia with the necessary certifications from the Civil Aviation Authority. This is a historic achievement and one in which we are proud at Cranfield Aerospace Solutions to have played our part in.”

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.