By Bryan Corliss
March 9, 2023 © Leeham News – AeroTec learned “a lot about hydrogen” as it prepared Universal Hydrogen’s (UH2) Dash-8-300 flying testbed for its first flight last week.
“Hydrogen wants to escape,” said Dale Goulding, the chief technology officer for Seattle-based AeroTec. “It’s a very small molecule that wants to get out of whatever container you put it in.”
For that reason, Universal Hydrogen’s modular capsule makes refueling easier than it would be if the companies tried to replicate the fuel-pumping process used to refuel carbon-powered aircraft, he said.
“It’s been no problem at all,” Goulding said. “Just roll them in and out. It’s real easy.”
Goulding led a team of roughly 60 AeroTec employees working out of Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, WA., which was where Universal Hydrogen’s first flight took place on March 2. The plane took two passes over the airfield, flying with a hydrogen fuel cell powering one propeller, while a second kerosene-powered motor was on idle, in case it was needed.
The short flight was intended to “get up, get down safely, then look at all the data,” he said; taking concepts out of the lab and putting them into the sky.
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 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.
How UH2 moves forward is detailed below.