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French brand calls on iconic heritage for hydrogen aircraft
Mauboussin aircraft have broken endurance and speed records: Helene Boucher and Maryse Hilsz broke several records at the controls of a Mauboussin-built Corsaire. Now the company turns to sustainable STOL aircraft.
The Alcyon M3c will seat five passengers and features the same powerplant as the Alerion M1h two-seater.
Read this story in our December 2020 printed issue.

Avions Mauboussin, an aircraft manufacturer based in Belfort in France since 2017, is developing the first generation of hybrid hydrogen-fuelled aircraft. The French company is reviving the aviation brand of the 1930s founded by Pierre Mauboussin with two programmes: Alerion M1h, a light two-seater, and Alcyon M3c, a six-seater.

The objective is to allow sustainable inter-city mobility and access to areas currently closed to conventional aircraft using clean and silent STOL aircraft to operate as close as possible to the desired destinations and from reduced infrastructures.

Mauboussin aircraft have broken endurance and speed records. Helene Boucher and Maryse Hilsz took part in competitions and broke several records at the controls of their Mauboussin-built Corsaire. The planes were renowned for their energy efficiency, thanks to improved aerodynamics combined with a modest engine. Pierre Mauboussin, the son of the famous jeweller Georges Mauboussin, was also the designer of the Fouga Magister military training jet.

David Gallezot, founder of the new Avions Mauboussin, wanted to revive a brand that is synonymous with innovation and avant-garde thinking. “In 1928 Pierre Mauboussin founded Avions Mauboussin to make aviation accessible to more people; today Avions Mauboussin is being reinvented to bring accessibility to the regions with the sustainable aviation of the 21st century,” he says.

Building on this pioneering heritage, Avions Mauboussin is designing the next generation of aircraft that introduce sustainable regional hydrogen-powered air mobility, meeting the demands of modern transport and the new ecological values of customers, pilots and passengers. The desire to perpetuate this vision of modernity and to integrate energy efficiency to serve the environment led to the design of Alerion M1h. The first of the Avions Mauboussin range, designed with the Universite de Technologie de Belfort-Montbeliard (UTBM) and industrial partners, the Alerion M1h is a light tandem two-seater with low wings, hybrid drive, fast and aerodynamic, for the pilot-owner and on-demand mobility market.

The powerplant will initially be hybrid (electric/thermal), with total power of 80 kW (about 110 hp). This will enable short takeoff and landing in electric mode while cruising will be in combustion mode (250 km/h) with a range of several hundred kilometres.

Subsequently, a hydrogen-powered turbine will enable the electric engine to function and will therefore completely eliminate harmful emissions and the use of fossil fuels, which are already greatly reduced with the electric drive.

The first flight is planned for 2022 in the hybrid version and for 2024 in the hydrogen version. Commercialisation of the aircraft is scheduled for the end of 2024. This aircraft will validate the technologies transferable to the next model, the Alcyon M3c, and should be quickly available on the general aviation market with a sustainable offer.

The Alcyon M3c, a regional STOL aircraft, will have a seating capacity for five passengers and the same powerplant as the Alerion M1h two-seater (hybrid then hydrogen). It will have a range of 1,500 km and will reach a cruise speed of 370 km/h. Certification and commercialisation are planned for 2026.

The Alcyon M3c will be key for regional and local air mobility. Capable of performance in accordance with modern mobility requirements (flexibility of use, landing/takeoff as close as possible to travellers' departure and final destination, and discreet) while respecting modern values, the Alcyon M3c, just like the Alerion M1h, is designed to symbolise the rebirth of modern aviation and what it should represent: technology, design and environment.

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