Universal Hydrogen says its hydrogen-fueled test aircraft has won a key certification from regulators and has completed its first taxi tests at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Wash.
Those two developments bring the California-based company closer to the first flight of its modified De Havilland Dash 8-300 aircraft, nicknamed “Lightning McClean.” The plane’s right engine has been replaced with a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain, featuring an electric motor built by Everett, Wash.-based MagniX.
Seattle-based AeroTEC is handling the engineering work for the conversion, while New York-based Plug Power is providing the fuel cells. The Pratt & Whitney engine on the left side of the plane has been kept intact as a backup for flight tests.
Lightning McClean won a special airworthiness certificate in the experimental category from the Federal Aviation Administration — which is a prerequisite for flight testing. Universal Hydrogen hasn’t provided a development timeline, but the first flight could come within the next few months if ground testing goes well.