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French startup reveals hydrogen powered electric four-seater

Blue Spirit Aero

VIDEO: Aerospace Valley around Toulouse, France is currently creating a bunch of interesting aviation startups and one is attending Oshkosh – Blue Spirit Aero (BSA) – with details of an electric four-seat aircraft powered by a hydrogen fuel cell.

The BSA Dragonfly is an ambitious clean-sheet design using multiple electric motors and propellers along the leading edge of the wing. It’s a principle known as Distributed Electric Propulsion and its advantage is that if one or even three or four motors stopped, the aircraft would lose performance but still fly.

Blue Spirit Aero props

Each electric motor and prop is self-contained so can be replaced quickly

We spoke to engineers David Vincekovic, Head of Aerodynamic and Performance, and Florian Pasquiet, Head of Aerostructure and Integration. A video of the interview will follow shortly.

David works remotely from Adelaide, Australia and is currently managing the wind tunnel test campaign to validate the aerodynamic characteristics of the novel distributed electric propulsion (DEP) architecture. Florian is in Toulouse and managing the flying mockup test campaign – ie, a scaled radio-controlled aircraft – to validate the dynamic performance.

Being a clean-sheet design, the pair can start from current best practice. That includes having the hydrogen fuel tanks outside the fuselage because of the inevitable leakage that’s a fundamental issue with hydrogen. That lessens the fire risk – and will help with the certification process.

BSA’s target market for the Dragonfly is flying schools which normally operate from one airfield here the infrastructure for refuelling with hydrogen can be installed.

They’re aiming for the first flying prototype by the end of 2024 with an Entry Into Service by end of 2026.

Blue Spirit Aero was founded by current CEO Olivier Savin in mid-2020, is part funded by grants from Aerospace Valley and is looking for investors.

Blue Spirit Aero 

BSA Dragonfly Fast Facts

  • Four-seat electric aircraft
  • Power source Hydrogen fuel cell
  • Motors 12 producing total 150kW
  • Take-off roll 300m/985ft
  • Ceiling 3050m/10,000ft
  • Climb rate 4m/s/785ft per min
  • Cruise speed 250kmh/135kt
  • Max range 700km/378nm
  • Stall speed 100kmh/54kt
  • Wingspan 12m/39ft
  • Length 7.5m/24ft
  • Cabin width 1.5m/4ft
  • Max take-off mass 1600kg/3530 lb
  • Payload 350kg/700 lb
  • Seats 4-5
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