Advanced Air Mobility News

Electra Completes First Solar-Electric Hybrid Powered Flight

Electra Completes First Solar-Electric Hybrid Powered Flight

Electra has completed its first flight using a solar-battery hybrid electric aircraft. The 90-foot-wide jet, named Dawn One, took off from Manassas Regional Airport, Virginia on September 9.

The project came out of Electra’s new development facility in Virginia and is part of the Stratospheric Airborne Climate Observing System (SACOS) program, a program developed under the leadership of Professor James Anderson at Harvard University.

The SACOS program, which is also supported by a contract from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and by the Weld Foundation for Scientific and Environmental Development, is a multi-year project to collect atmospheric data using solar-powered jets capable of flying long distances.

“SACOS is designed to serve as a climate observation system that will herald a new era in the quantitative dissection of the physics, chemistry, and biology controlling critical climate systems,” said Professor Anderson, adding that the program’s observations will allow the team to forecasts risks involving rapidly expanding wildfires, rising sea levels, severe storms, and global shifts in arid regions that trigger water shortages.

The Dawn One is part of Electra’s ongoing research and development into reduced and zero-carbon aircraft propulsion technologies, which also includes turbine-electric and hydrogen fuel cell-based hybrid systems.