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HANNOVER MESSE 2020, 20 - 24 April
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Automation, Motion & Drives

Larger aircraft also to fly electrically

The German Aerospace Center wants to equip a Dornier Do-228 with an electric and hybrid-electric drive. It is hoped this will make short and medium-haul flights environmentally friendly.

11 Sep. 2019
HMI-ID08-079rf_DLR_HendrikWeber
Larger aircraft also to fly electrically (Photo: DLR/Hendrik Weber)

To date, electric-powered aircraft have only been in operation as small aircraft, and hybrid-electric models are only just in the development phase. Now, together with Siemens, MTU Aero Engines, and Swiss aviation group RUAG Aviation, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) has presented a concept for a 19-passenger test aircraft at the 1st National Aviation Conference in Leipzig. In a first phase, the Electric Flight Demonstrator, based on a Dornier Do-228, is to be equipped with a 100% electric drive with an output of around 500 kW, while a hybrid-electric drive with an additional gas turbine generator is planned for the second phase. DLR also intends to test the suitability of hydrogen as an energy carrier for aircraft engines. RUAG has been building the Dornier 228 at the old Dornier site in Oberpfaffenhofen near Munich since 2009.

DLR owns two Do-228 models and uses them as research aircraft. Rolf Henke, DLR Executive Board Member for Aeronautics Research, sees great development potential in terms of the aerodynamics of aircraft, weight, propulsion, and the use of synthetic fuels. He believes that electric flight could make environment-friendly flight possible on short and medium-haul routes.

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