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Joby completes record-breaking 523-mile hydrogen-electric eVTOL flight 

Joby Aviation announced that it has successfully completed a 523-mile flight powered by a hydrogen-electric propulsion syste m. 

The Californian company has claimed that the flight is the first instance of a forward-moving flight to be completed using a vertical takeoff and landing aircraft powered by liquid hydrogen. 

This is quite a remarkable development since, until recently, Joby was focused on the development of its battery-powered 100% electric eVTOL.  

However, the acquisition of Germany-based startup H2FLY in 2021 provided Joby with the opportunity to research and develop hydrogen propulsion.  

H2FLY is a spin-off of DLR, Germany’s national aerospace research center, and it has been working on pioneering hydrogen propulsion systems for a number of years. Its HY4 experimental aircraft, which flew for the first time in 2016, conducted the first ever piloted flight propelled by liquid hydrogen in September 2023.  

Joby is leveraging the experience it has acquired in the battery electric space to accelerate the development and certification of a hydrogen-electric version of its aircraft.  

In fact, for the test flight, which took off from and landed at the company’s facilities in Marina, California, United States, Joby used a specially modified aircraft that had previously flown with batteries. 

The adoption of hydrogen-electric technology opens up interesting possibilities when it comes to overcoming the eVTOL industry’s Achilles heel: the range limitation of battery-powered aircraft. 

By using hydrogen as a fuel, eVTOLs could be able to connect much more distant locations, opening up new use cases.  

“Imagine being able to fly from San Francisco to San Diego, Boston to Baltimore, or Nashville to New Orleans without the need to go to an airport and with no emissions except water,” Joby’s Founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt said in a company press release. 

The test aircraft took off with a custom-designed tank capable of carrying 40 kg of liquid hydrogen. After the 523-mile flight there was still 10% fuel remaining. 

Joby’s work in the field of eVTOL hydrogen-electric propulsion is supported by the US Air Force AFWERX Agility Prime program, which aims to foster the development of new transportation technologies for the US military. 

The post Joby completes record-breaking 523-mile hydrogen-electric eVTOL flight  appeared first on AeroTime.

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