General Aviation Hybrid-Electric Britten-Norman Islander gets funding grant

Cranfield Aerospace Solutions (CAeS) has received the backing of the UK Government for a project to develop a hybrid-electric Britten-Norman Islander aircraft.

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CAeS received an investment grant of £9 million from the UK Government. The company will primarily develop electric aircraft. The project, which is named Fresson, has received the money to design, manufacture and integrate a hybrid-electric propulsion system into a Britten-Norman Islander aircraft.

The grant was provided through the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) programme, which is a partnership that seeks to promote Business, Energy & Industry Strategy and Innovations in the UK. The investment grows the UK´s competitive position in civil aerospace.

Mark Scully, Head of Technology for Advanced Systems & Propulsion at the ATI, said: “Project Fresson brings together a great partnership to develop innovative technology for a sustainable all-electric air transport solution for isolated islands. The partners’ ultimate goal of delivering the first commercial passenger-carrying all-electric aircraft service in the UK will mark a significant breakthrough for all-electric propulsion.”

Paul Hutton CAeS CEO, added: “The results of this exciting electric aircraft demonstrator project can be rapidly developed into an EASA/CAA (European Aviation Safety Agency/Civil Aviation Authority) certified modification kit, enabling the UK to lead the way with the first passenger-carrying sub-regional aircraft capable of all-electric flight. The strength of the industrial partners involved in this project, are underpinned by the world-class aerospace/manufacturing research capabilities of Cranfield University. This is going to accelerate our green transport revolution.”

The Fresson project includes several UK businesses like Rolls-Royce, who will be supplying the power management system, the Denis Ferranti Group, Delta Motorsport and Britten-Norman, the aircraft OEM.

Rolls-Royce has invented its own commitment to making aviation more sustainable and The Fresson project supports this vision.

At first, the team will develop a demonstrator and following this aircraft, CAeS will go on to certify the modification through EASA to receive a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC). If granted, Britten-Norman Islander operators can implement the hybrid-electric system into existing aircraft and that globally. Currently, over 400 Islanders are operating worldwide. The system will help to reduce the carbon footprint and will lower overall operating costs.

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