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MEBAA (Middle East & North Africa Business Aviation Association)
MEBAA (Middle East & North Africa Business Aviation Association)
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Aura Aero
Aircraft

Aura Aero ERA

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ERA programme reaches two major milestones
Aura Aero has issued its first calls for tender for a number of work packages, and has signed a PAC with EASA to set the time frame within which the ERA aircraft will be certified.
Luc Tytgat, high representative to the EASA executive director, and Aura Aero CEO Jérémy Caussade.
Read this story in our May 2024 printed issue.

Aura Aero has launched the first major calls for tender for work-packages in order to select the suppliers for its fuselage design, airframe engineering services, turbogenerator, primary flight control system actuators and inceptors. According to its schedule, the first parts of the flight test aircraft should be manufactured in early 2025.

Additionally, in view of obtaining certification from the European and US aviation authorities for its ERA aircraft, whose entry in service is planned before 2030, Aura Aero signed a PAC (Pre-Application Services Contract) with EASA. Prior to the certification process of the aircraft, this contract helps set the frame within which EASA will later certify the aircraft.

By committing to this PAC in Category 2: 'Introduction of a product with embodied innovative or disruptive technologies', Aura Aero is engaging with EASA and will receive technical advice services, while helping the authority draft the generic elements to set the foundations of the future formal product certification basis.

Aura Aero launched its ERA (Electric Regional Aircraft) programme in 2021, with the aim of participating in the decarbonisation of air transport, starting with a 19-seater aircraft certifiable by EASA in the CS-23 category. This launch was based on two essential criteria:

- First, the ERA is intended to address the continuously growing demand in air traffic (between February 2023 and February 2024, the domestic market request has increased by 15 per cent according to the latest studies published by IATA);

- Secondly, the aircraft currently in service for regional flights are in great majority old generation, both in terms of avionics and in terms of propulsion, with engines that are very fuel-consuming.

The ERA brings a new approach with a hybrid-electric propulsion solution, that contributes to decarbonising these regional routes. Market reaction has been extremely encouraging; 500 aircraft have already been pre-ordered.

From December last year to March this year, a vast programme review enabled the validation of maturity gate MG4, defining the different architectural choices for the materials and systems.

Aura Aero is already certified as an aircraft manufacturer from design to production, having obtained EASA Part 21G approval for manufacturing in November 2021 and Part 21J approval for industrial design in September 2023. Its main engineers hold strong skills and experience in CS-25 certification, which will be very helpful to be adapted to the CS-23 category in which ERA will be certified.

For Aura Aero, engaging in an EASA PAC process will lead to the validation of its disruptive technology choices for ERA, such as the avionic systems, fly-by-wire system and hybrid-electric propulsion system, in view of the final certification of the aircraft.

Co-founder and executive director Wilfried Dufaud says: "For all the Aura Aero team and for our industrial and financial partners, this agreement with EASA is a major milestone in the ERA programme and can be considered as the groundbreaking of the ERA certification process."

Luc Tytgat, high representative to the EASA executive director, adds: "Aura Aero is the first company to cooperate with EASA in the field of electric commuter aircraft. We at EASA are convinced that general aviation and mid-tier companies are good incubators for developing innovative solutions and that the lessons learned from this PAC will contribute to the decarbonisation of air transport and the future employment of green technologies in aviation. This should enable us to efficiently support the safe and timely introduction of these disruptive technologies into the aviation world, with the expected benefits for the environment."

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