Zunum Aero has selected France’s Safran Helicopter Engines to provide a new-generation engine turbine for its hybrid-to-electric airplane, due for first flight in the early 2020s.
Safran’s Ardiden 3Z engine will drive the electrical generator for Zunum’s 12-seat ZA10 aircraft, supplementing the energy stored in the plane’s batteries with peak power of 500 kilowatts during key stages of flight and over long ranges, Zunum said today in a news release. The aircraft will be able to cruise and land on turbo-generator power alone, offering full redundancy.
The ZA10 is being designed for a range of 700 miles, with an eye toward enabling affordable operations at tens of thousands of underused regional-size airports around the world.
Zunum, which is headquartered in Bothell, Wash., says the aircraft should drive operating costs down to 8 cents per available seat mile, or $250 per hour. That’s said to be 60 to 80 percent lower than comparable conventional aircraft of comparable size.