First flight of Universal Hydrogen Dash 8 opens new era, company says

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By Scott Hamilton

March 6, 2023, © Leeham News: Universal Hydrogen (UH2) last week took off with its demonstrator aircraft for what it believes is the beginning of a new era.

The first flight of a hydrogen-powered De Havilland Dash 8-300, developed by Universal Hydrogen, occurred on March 2, 2023. Credit: Leeham News.

The Dash 8-300 took off from the Moses Lakes (WA) airport at 8:41 am on March 2 for a short flight circling the former US Air Force Base, now called Grant County International Airport. On one circle, the test pilots throttled back the Jet A-fueled Pratt & Whitney PW123 engine, flying on the No. 2 electric motor, powered by hydrogen fuel.

Thus, UH2’s Dash 8 became the second largest plane (after the Soviet-era Tu-155) to fly on hydrogen and the first to fly solely on clean energy given that the No. 1 engine was at idle.

LNA previously reported details of UH2’s airplane plans.

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How UH2 moves forward is detailed below.


  • UH2 raised $100m. Another $200m-$250m is required to bring the aircraft to market.
  • UH2 has 247 orders and commitments.
  • ATR-72 will be the first H2-powered airliner to enter service. The Dash 8-300 will follow.
  • A fueling company, not an airplane company.

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Outlook 2023: Turboprops: Embraer and De Havilland look to future, leaving market to ATR

Embraer’s TPNG turboprop concept. A decision whether to launch the program has been delayed. Credit: Embraer.

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By Bryan Corliss

Jan. 9, 2023, © Leeham News: Turboprops should be having a moment, given all the concern about how the aviation industry is contributing to climate change. Want to cut your fuel burn by 45%? Just retire your fleet of 70-seat regional jets and replace them with turboprops.

Yet even with concerns over the environmental (and monetary) costs of operating regional jets, there hasn’t been a big move toward turboprops. In December, Embraer announced it was putting the development of a 70-to-90-seat turboprop on hold. The reason: Suppliers can’t provide it with components (meaning engines) that will provide enough of a performance increase to make a new plane worthwhile.

Meanwhile, the orphaned De Havilland Dash-8 – now owned by a rebranded De Havilland Aircraft Canada – has been out of production since mid-2021.

That leaves the Franco-Italian consortium of ATR as the only OEM likely to deliver any turboprops to airlines in 2023, 2024 – maybe even beyond.

That could change by the end of the decade, however. Embraer is working on a hybrid-electric aircraft that could be ready as soon as 2030 in 19- and 30-seat versions. And a rebranded De Havilland Canada is taking steps to restart production of the Dash-8 at a new factory site in Alberta.


  • Embraer focuses Energia on two models
  • ATR working to certify STOL version of ATR42
  • Can Dash-8 come back with new company, factory, workforce?
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Universal Hydrogen’s ATR72 Project

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By Bjorn Fehrm

Dec. 22, 2022, © Leeham News: Last week, we wrote about Universal Hydrogen’s (UH2) plans to fly a hydrogen-fueled demonstrator aircraft in early 2023, followed by a certified conversion kit for an ATR72 airliner mid-decade.

The plans for the ATR72 hydrogen conversion are at an advanced state. As the first publication, we can describe the overall design and the technical details. The ATR72 implementation brings improvements in several areas compared with what’s been revealed before.

Figure 1. Hydrogen tank modules are loaded onto an ATR 72 using standard freight handling equipment. Source: Universal Hydrogen.

  • The target ATR72 conversion improves hydrogen capacity and handling compared to earlier concepts.
  • The influence on the ATR seating capacity is reduced due to more efficient packaging on the aircraft.

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Universal Hydrogen could be first with Hydrogen Airliner

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By Scott Hamilton and Bjorn Fehrm

Dec. 15, 2022, © Leeham News: Universal Hydrogen (UH2) is perhaps weeks away from its first flight of a demonstrator that equips a De Havilland Canada Dash 8-300 with tanks of hydrogen and a fuel cell electric propulsion unit. The project shall prove the feasibility of hydrogen-fueled airliners.

The first flight’s date hasn’t been firmly set, but officials at UH2 told LNA it should be soon. Taxi tests of the aircraft will begin in the coming weeks. The flight will occur at Moses Lake in Central Washington State.

Universal Hydrogen supplies its hydrogen to the aircraft in prefilled barrel-sized tanks, called capsules, to avoid the lengthy and costly investment in storing and filling infrastructure at airports. The proof of concept is with a Dash 8, followed by a complete hydrogen conversion kit for an ATR-72 turboprop airliner.

Figure 1. Hydrogen tank pallets are loaded onto an ATR 72 by standard cargo loaders. Source: Universal Hydrogen.

  • The core business of Universal Hydrogen is the prefilled hydrogen tanks that load onto the aircraft in pallets.
  • Universal Hydrogen builds the complete hydrogen fuel and propulsion system to prove and bootstrap the concept of hydrogen airliners.

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ATR, Embraer, JADC release 20-year turboprop demand forecasts

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By Scott Hamilton

July 25, 2022, © Leeham News: ATR and Embraer released at the Farnborough Air Show their forecasts for the next 20 years for turboprops.

ATR is the only remaining manufacturer of turboprops in the 40-80 seat category outside of China and Russia. Embraer, which got its start in commercial aviation with the 19-seat Bandeirante, exited the turboprop business after the EMB-120 Brasilia. Now, following decades of exclusively supplying regional jets to the world’s commercial aviation market, wants to resume producing turboprops. It’s proposed a two-member family with 70 and 90 seats. EMB claims it has interest from airlines for 250 turboprops, but the program launch remains elusive.

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Farnborough Air Show winds up with post-pandemic slow pace

By Scott Hamilton

July 22, 2022, © Leeham News: The Farnborough Air Show produced little in the way of headline news. But Boeing comes away with some momentum. Airbus announced a big order on July 1, well ahead of the show, from China, leaving show orders in high double digits.

Boeing announced orders and commitments for 278 737 MAXes, including 100 firm and 30 options from Delta Air Lines. This order was the first from Delta in 11 years, ending a long-running behind-the-scenes streak of sour relations between the companies.

The order, for the 737-10 MAX, finally fulfills Boeing’s goal of getting the -10 into Delta. Boeing had counted on Delta being a launch customer of the airplane in 2017. As reported in my book, Air Wars, The Global Combat Between Airbus and  Boeing, the bake-off between the MAX 10 and the Airbus A321neo came down in favor of the MAX 10. But CFM declined to grant Delta TechOps rights to perform maintenance, repair and overhaul for other airlines and lessors. Pratt & Whitney agreed, tipping the order to Airbus.

Also during the competition, Boeing was engaged in a trade complaint over Bombardier’s sale of the C Series to Delta. Boeing alleged Bombardier engaged in price-dumping, contrary to trade laws. Boeing won the trade complaint and a tariff of 292% was assessed on each C Series imported from Canada. However, the final review found no harm to Boeing, which hadn’t competed for the order, a required element to impose the tariff. Many observers thought Boeing’s timing concurrent with the MAX-neo campaign affected the decision. But as reported in Air Wars, Delta officials said this wasn’t a factor.

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Few orders at Farnborough Day 3

By Alex Derber

(c) Airfinance Journal, July 20, 2022

The Farnborough Air Show is all but over with a few orders announced on Day 3. Airbus executives have now left the show, with no more orders expected from them.

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Airbus, Boeing, Embraer, ATR orders at Day Two of Farnborugh

By Alex Derber

(c) Airfinance Journal, July 19, 2022

Commercial aircraft

– Airline investor 777 Partners placed firm orders for 30 737 Max 8200 aircraft and agreed to a further 36 commitments for the high-density Max model. The aircraft have been earmarked for 777 Partners’ two airline investments: Flair Airlines in Canada and Bonza Airline in Australia.

Porter Airlines exercised purchase rights and signed a firm order for 20 Embraer 195-E2 passenger aircraft, adding to its existing 30 orders. Porter’s first delivery is scheduled for the second half of 2022, when the Canadian carrier will become the North American launch customer for the E195-E2, while will be powered by Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan engines.

Aercap ordered five additional 787-9s, taking its existing and on-order portfolio for the widebody family to 125 units.

Aviation Capital Group ordered 12 additional 737 Max 8s, which have expanded the lessor’s Max order book to 34 aircraft.

Delta Air Lines confirmed additional orders for 12 Airbus A220-300 aircraft. The US airline has now ordered 107 A220-family aircraft, the first of which it received in late 2018. The aircraft are powered by Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan engines.

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Forecast 2022: ATR has monopoly, De Havilland looks to hydrogen and Embraer lurks with new design

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By Scott Hamilton and Bjorn Fehrm


Jan. 31, 2022, © Leeham News: ATR is now effectively the only turboprop manufacturer outside of China and Russia in the 40-80 seat sector.  The models are the ATR 42-600, ATR 42-600S (STOL), and ATR 72-600.

The series was built on simplicity with unpowered controls and the simplest possible systems.  It has worked well for ATR when selling to markets that want airlift to the lowest possible cost.  It also means the design is at its limits capacity and speed-wise, any more capacity or performance and it needs powered controls and more elaborate systems.  It was behind ATR’s desire to develop a new, larger model in the past.

But ATR has little reason to develop a new turboprop now that it is in a monopoly position.  This could change if Embraer proceeds with its concept for a new family of two turboprops, a 70- and a 90-seat aircraft.  Embraer’s base design could form the basis of a hydrogen-burning gas turbine model in the future.

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2022 Outlook depends largely on pandemic, Boeing recovery

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By the Leeham News Team

Dec. 13, 2021, © Leeham News: Attempting a forecast for the new year historically has been reasonably easy. One just started with the stability of the current years, and maybe the previous one or two years, and looked forward to next year.

Until the Boeing 737 MAX grounding, COVID-19 pandemic, and the Boeing 787 suspension of deliveries.

These events upended everything. Boeing’s outlook for 2020 depended on what happened to return the MAX to service. The grounding, initially expected by many to be measured in months, ultimately was measured in years.

The 2020 outlook for the rest of the aircraft manufacturers blew up that March with the global pandemic.

Then, in October 2020, Boeing suspended deliveries of the 787, exacerbating its cash flow crunch.

Commercial aviation began to recover some in late 2020. Airbus, which reduced but didn’t suspend deliveries throughout 2020, saw signs of hope for the narrowbody market—less so for widebody airplanes.

There is a lot of uncertainty, however, that makes looking even one year ahead challenging.

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