Zunum Aero Makes Hybrid to Electric Aircraft Engine Selection

By Amy Kluber | October 12, 2018
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Zunum Aero's ZA10 will be powered by a Safran Helicopter Engines Ardiden 3Z. Photo, courtesy of Safran.

Zunum Aero has selected Safran Helicopter Engines to power its hybrid-to-electric commercial aircraft to be available in the 2020s.

Safran will provide a new-generation engine turbine to power Zunum's ZA10 electrical generator. The fixed-wing aircraft can carry 12 passengers and fly 700 miles.

The ZA10 is the company's first hybrid-to-electric aircraft and will be powered by dual power sources including propulsion batteries and a Safran turboshaft from the Ardiden range, to be called the Ardiden 3Z. The companies say this power method will provide cost savings and increase efficiency. Operating costs, according to a company press release, will be 8 cents per seat mile, or $250 per hour.

“The Ardiden 3Z represents a very powerful complement to the ZA10 because of its exceptional performance, along with low operating and maintenance costs," said Florent Chauvancy, Safran Helicopter Engines EVP of original equipment manufacturer sales. "This announcement marks a new step forward in demonstrating Safran ability to offer hybrid propulsive solutions for tomorrow’s mobility solutions.”

Ground and flight testing of the aircraft is scheduled for 2019, with delivery for early 2020s. The engine will undergo ground tests in France and the U.S. in 2019.

This article was first published in Rotor & Wing International, a sister publication to Avionics International.

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