A French startup is taking hybrid-electric aviation to new level after revealing the production configuration for its Cassio aircraft.
VoltAero started flight testing the fixed-wing design in early March and plans to achieve type certification under EASA’s CS-23 rules in time for deliveries to begin by the end of 2022, AINonline reported.
On May 6, VoltAero announced that it intends to offer three variants of the single pusherprop aircraft, featuring a distinctive aft main wing and tail boom, as well as a canard configuration.
These will include the four-seat Cassio 330 with a combined hybrid-electric power rating of 330 kW, the six-seat Cassio 480 (480 kW), and the 10-seat Cassio 600 (600 kW), the report said.
Intended for a variety of business and general aviation applications, including air taxi, the Cassio family will offer range of up to 920 nautical miles and a 200-knot cruise speed.
Takeoff and landing distance is projected to be less than 1,800 feet and VoltAero says the aircraft will be able to operate for up to 10 hours each day, allowing multiple rotations, the report said. Max takeoff weight will be below 2.5 tonnes (5,511 pounds) to comply with requirements, the report said.
The hub of the Cassio’s proprietary propulsion system is an internal combustion engine that drives three 60-kW electric motors. In standard operations, the electric motors would be used for takeoff and landings (partly to reduce noise), with the engine extending range.
VoltAero is testing this power combination in an early prototype, the Cassio 1, which is loosely based on the Cessna 337 Skymaster, the report said.
The company intends to produce the all-composite aircraft in a purpose-built final assembly line in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region of southwest France.
VoltAero was founded by former Airbus chief technology officer Jean Botti, who led the European aerospace group’s E-Fan X electric aircraft development program, the report said.
“The Cassio production design’s unveiling represents the latest step in our realistic and highly pragmatic creation of an all-new aircraft family,” CEO Botti told AvWeb.
“It benefits from our team’s unmatched experience in hybrid-electric aviation, as well as the ongoing full-scale flight testing that removes the risk as we move toward the production phase.”