Universal Hydrogen Dash-8 – First Flight

”Run on sunshine and emit nothing but water…”

Universal Hydrogen’s first flight on a retrofitted Dash-8 300 aircraft powered by (partly) Hydrogen Fuel Cells electric engine took place on 2 March 2023 from Moses Lake in Washington State. Nicknamed Lightning McClean and using a modified magniX motor with Plug Power PowerGen fuel cells, the aircraft flew for 15 minutes and reached a height of 3,500 feet.

Although one of the aircraft’s two engines was powered by traditional kerosene for safety reasons, the hydrogen fuel call electric engine was used in-flight on its own to demonstrate the technology.

With provisional orders for up to 100 ATR 72-600 regional airliners aircraft using Universal Hydrogen’s conversion platform from launch customer Connect Air, the market is watching closely as to the development and certification progress, scheduled for 2025.

Co-founder and CEO Paul Emerenko is understandably bullish after the successful first flight, saying his company’s: “…hydrogen fueling uses modular capsules compatible with existing freight networks and airport cargo handling equipment, making every airport in the world hydrogen-ready.”

With a mission to “…put aviation on a trajectory to meet Paris Agreement emissions targets by making hydrogen-powered commercial flight a near-term reality”, Universal Hydrogen’s claim of “True Zero Emissions” – as emblazoned on the fuselage of the company’s launch flight – promises exciting times ahead.