Heart Aerospace has flown a scale model of its ES-19 aircraft from Säve Airport in Gothenburg, Sweden.
”The most dramatic thing about the test flight was how undramatic it was," says founder and CEO Anders Forslund. "The plane performed exactly as we predicted, soaring effortlessly through the air, with a precision take off and landing. This test flight validated what we already knew; that the ES-19 aerodynamic design is inherently stable and safe.”
The test flight took four and a half minutes. The aircraft flew with an average speed of 77mph and a maximum speed of 93 mph. The take off and landing speed was 53mph.
With a wingspan of 4.6m, the Heart ES-19 model aircraft is built to 1:5 scale. However, the manufacturing materials are different; whereas the full scale ES-19 will be made primarily from aluminium, the subscale model was constructed from a mix of carbon fibre and fibreglass composites. The onboard systems, including the electric motors, were entirely off the shelf. However, a full scale demonstrator of the ES-19 drivetrain has already been in ground testing for more than a year.
“We’re not looking to reinvent the wheel. A lot of start-ups are presenting very novel aircraft architectures, spending several years in subscale testing just to demonstrate the basic functionality of the aircraft," continues Forslund. "We’ve avoided these pitfalls by relying on a conventional aircraft architecture. We can devote almost all our resources to the formal development, bringing this aircraft through certification and into commercial service.”
This subscale demonstrator was supported by the Swedish Innovation Agency Vinnova, as a part of the research project Elise - Electric Aviation in Sweden.
Heart Aerospace is developing a fully electric passenger airliner for commercial use. The first test flights of the full scale version are planned for 2024. By 2026, the aircraft will enter into service for commercial short haul flights.