HY4 Passenger Plane Sets Hydrogen Altitude Record

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German aerospace company H2FLY has a new world altitude record with its four-seat HY4, which became the first hydrogen-powered passenger aircraft to reach an altitude above 7,000 ft (approx. 2,135 m) last week– less than a day after the HY4 made the first European flight in a hydrogen-powered passenger aircraft from one major airport to another when it traveled from Stuttgart to Friedrichshafen.

“This is a remarkable achievement for H2FLY, as no other hydrogen-powered passenger aircraft has flown between two commercial airports to date,” says Dr. Josef Kallo, co-founder and CEO of H2FLY. “We are also thrilled to have set what we believe to be a new world record by reaching an altitude of over 7,000 feet with our HY4 aircraft. We want to thank our long-time partners Stuttgart Airport, University of Ulm, DLR Stuttgart, Friedrichshafen Airport, and AERO Friedrichshafen, for supporting us in our mission to make sustainable travel a reality.”

H2FLY HY4 in Flight

Image courtesy H2FLY.

The HY4 features a distinctive, twin-fuselage design that’s based on the Pipistrel Taurus G4 aircraft. But, while the G4 is a battery-electric aircraft powered by “conventional” Li-ion batteries, the HY4 is a hybrid design that uses a low-temperature hydrogen fuel cell system to charge its batteries in flight.

Hydrogen for the fuel cells is stored at less than 5,800 psi in two carbon composite tanks (one in each fuselage), that feed H into the fuel cell. The fuel cell generates electricity to power up the lithium-ion batteries, which provide a power boost during moments of peak demand by the 80-kW (about 107 hp) electric motor. The H2FLY HY4  has a cruising speed of 90 mph (145 km/h), and a projected range of up to 900 miles (1,500 km).

The hydrogen hybrid system was developed by the DLR Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics (DLR), in association with Cummins-owned hydrogen research firm, Hydrogenics.

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