The most powerful hybrid-electric powertrain for VoltAero’s family of Cassio production airplanes is building up flight time in airborne evaluations on the Cassio 1 testbed aircraft, including its first public presentation at the company’s Aérodrome de Royan-Médis headquarters in southwest France. Now, the developers are preparing the plane for a flight across France, during which it will fly through 11 cities.
The prototype is a modified Cessna 337 Skymaster in which the front motor has been replaced by a proprietary power module that combines three 60 kW high-performance electric motors with a 370-hp internal combustion engine. The hybrid-electric unit is installed in an aft-fuselage “pusher” position with a five-blade propeller. The Cassio 1 testbed also retains two wing-mounted ENGINeUS 45 electric motors from Safran Electrical & Power, installed in the forward-facing “puller” position.
The internal combustion engine rotates the generator, which recharges the batteries in flight. In addition, this engine can be used to rotate the pushing propeller in flight in the event of an electric motor failure.
The ongoing testing of these “smart” electric motors, as well as the hybrid-electric power module, is providing an unmatched in-flight experience for VoltAero with cutting-edge electrical propulsion.
The hybrid propulsion system, mounted on the Cassio 1, will be used on the promising Cassio passenger aircraft, which VoltAero is currently developing. This family will include the 10-seat Cassio 600, the six-seat Cassio 480, and the four-seat Cassio 330.
The company expects to launch mass production of the Cassio 330 by early 2023, the Cassio 480 in 2024, and the Cassio 600 in 2025. It is assumed that in the first year of serial production, the company will release 30 new aircraft in a year, and then it will enter the full-scale production of 150 aircraft per year.