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Cassio 330 makes debut at Paris Air Show
The first Cassio 330 prototype should make its maiden flight later this year, validating the overall airframe configuration and aerodynamics. The second should fly in 2Q24 for the airworthiness certification programme.
VoltAero will assemble the Cassio aircraft in a purpose-built facility at the Rochefort Charente-Maritime airport in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of France.

VoltAero has unveiled the first Cassio 330 electric-hybrid aircraft, marking a major step toward aviation's goal of decarbonisation and sustainable mobility by introducing the first member in an aircraft family that brings together a clean-sheet airframe design with a proprietary hybrid propulsion system.

"Today marks a true milestone for electric aviation as VoltAero delivers on its promise to take an all-new approach for quiet, efficient and eco-friendly transportation that is based on a hybrid design combining thermal and electric propulsion for maximum flight safety," says CEO and chief technical officer Jean Botti. "I want to thank my VoltAero team for its dedication and tireless work in reaching this historic moment, as well as express my appreciation to our suppliers and partners for their commitment to Cassio."

The number one Cassio 330 prototype is expected to perform its maiden flight in late 2023. This aircraft will be used to validate the overall airframe configuration and aerodynamics of VoltAero's all-new design, and will be powered by a four-cylinder Kawasaki Motors thermal engine derived from the Japanese company's proven motorcycle engine products.

It will be followed by the maiden flight of the number two Cassio 330 in the second quarter of 2024. This aircraft will be used for the airworthiness certification programme and is to be equipped with VoltAero's full-up hybrid propulsion unit composed of the four-cylinder Kawasaki Motors thermal engine with a peak power rating of 165 kW, and a Safran ENGINeUS smart electric motor with a peak power rating of 180 kW.

VoltAero has selected Akira Technologies for the integration and validation of the hybrid propulsion unit. A specialist in the design and production of energy conversion systems and test benches, Akira has been given responsibility for design and development of the hybrid propulsion unit's gearbox, along with the unit's mechanical integration and ground testing, as well as test/adaptation of the Kawasaki thermal engine and Safran electric motor.

The number two Cassio 330 prototype also will have the full-definition avionics suite from Avidyne, integrating a glass cockpit with new-generation Quantum 14-inch displays for single pilot operation. Avidyne will tailor the avionics exclusively for power management of Cassio's hybrid propulsion unit.

The Cassio 330 will have a four/five seat interior configuration. The six seat Cassio 480 will have a combined electric-hybrid propulsion power of 480 kilowatts, and the 10/12 seat capacity Cassio 600 will have electric-hybrid propulsion power of 600 kilowatts. The Cassio 480 will utilise Kawasaki Motors' six-cylinder thermal engine.

VoltAero also is pursuing the application of sustainable fuels, including biofuel and hydrogen. Currently, the testbed aircraft is performing flight validations of VoltAero's hybrid power unit with biofuel. And as part of its Paris Air Show exhibit, VoltAero is displaying a Kawasaki Motors thermal engine that operates with liquid hydrogen, which will be used on Cassio 330 aircraft in the future.

The Cassio family will be a highly capable and reliable product line for regional commercial operators, air taxi/charter companies, private owners, as well as in utility-category service for cargo, postal delivery and medevac applications.

By integrating VoltAero's patented electric-hybrid propulsion system into the purpose-designed airframe, Cassio will deliver an order of magnitude higher performance as compared to the current competition and provide significantly lower operational costs.

The VoltAero propulsion concept is unique: Cassio aircraft will utilise an electric motor in the aft fuselage-mounted hybrid propulsion unit for all-electric power during taxi, take off, primary flight (if the distance travelled is less than 150 km) and landing. The hybrid feature with an internal combustion engine comes into play as a range extender, recharging the batteries while in flight. Additionally, this hybrid element serves as a backup in the event of a problem with the electric propulsion, ensuring true fail-safe functionality.

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