Saturday, April 13, 2024

Avions Mauboussin is working on two STOL hybrid hydrogen aircraft

Avions Mauboussin, a manufacturer, based in Belfort since 2017, is developing the first generation of hydrogen hybrid STOL (short take-off and landing) airplanes. The French startup is reviving the legendary aeronautical brand of the 1930s created by Pierre Mauboussin, with two programs: Alérion M1h, a light two-seater, and Alcyon M3c, a six-seater – both for personal means of transport dedicated to interurban mobility.

In addition to responsible inter-city mobility, the objective is to allow access to areas today closed to conventional aircraft, using clean and silent STOL aircraft. They require much shorter runways than regular airplanes, which means they could conceivably take off and land at reduced infrastructure: small airfield, heliport, sports field, parking lot, public park, or lawn of a residence. This could save the time and hassle – of the inter-city commuters – of having to travel to and from full-size airfields on the outskirts of town.

Alérion M1h, a light two-seater
Alérion M1h, a light two-seater. Credit: Avions Mauboussin

The first of the Avions Mauboussin range, Alérion M1h, is a light two-seater with low wings, hybrid drive, fast and aerodynamic, for the pilot-owner and on-demand mobility market. It is developed in collaboration with the Université de Technologie de Belfort-Montbéliard and other industrial partners.

The STOL aircraft will initially use a hybrid (electric/thermal) powerplant, with a total power of 80 kW (approximately 110 hp). It will allow a short take-off and landing in electric mode, while the cruise will be carried out by combustion mode. This powertrain should give Alérion M1h a range of several hundred kilometers and a cruising speed of 250 km/h (155 mph).

Alcyon M3c will not be a tilt-rotor aircraft
The Alcyon M3c will not be a tilt-rotor aircraft. Credit: Avions Mauboussin

Subsequently, a hydrogen-powered turbine will enable the electric engine to function, thus completely eliminating harmful emissions and the use of fossil fuels. The structure is made of natural composite materials (wood, fibers, and biosourced resins) to combine strength and lightness. The first flight of Alérion M1h is planned for 2022 in the hybrid version and for 2024 in the hydrogen version. This aircraft will validate the technologies transferable to the next model, Alcyon M3c.

The second model – Alcyon M3c, regional aircraft with short take-off and landing, will have a capacity of six passengers. It has the same powertrain as the Alérion M1h two-seater (initially hybrid and then switching to hydrogen). Alcyon M3c will have a range of 1,500 km (932 miles) and will reach a cruising speed of 370 km/h (230 mph).

Certification and marketing are planned for 2026. Alcyon M3c, just like Alérion M1h, will be the symbol of the rebirth of modern aviation and of what it must represent: Technology, Design, Ecology. It will be the key element of regional and local air mobility.