UK Backs Hybrid-electric Re-engining of Britten-Norman Islander

 - November 20, 2019, 7:19 AM
A re-engined hybrid-electric version of the Britten-Norman Islander may be available by the end of 2022.

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Cranfield Aerospace Solutions (CAeS) this week received a $12 million UK government grant to support its plans to develop a hybrid-electric propulsion system for the nine-seat Britten-Norman Islander twin-engine aircraft. The Project Fresson team plans to spend the next 30 months developing a demonstrator version of the re-engined aircraft, which is used for a variety of roles, including short regional airline connections to island locations.

The goal of Project Fresson is to secure approval from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency and UK Civil Aviation Authority to offer the hybrid-electric powerplant as a modification for the Islander by the end of 2022. Other members of the program include engine maker Rolls-Royce (supplying the power management system), Denis Ferranti (electric motors), Delta Motorsport (battery packs), the University of Warwick (battery testing and characterization), and Britten-Norman (providing a baseline aircraft and data/design support).

The grant has been provided under the UK’s ATI Programme, which is a partnership between the country’s Aerospace Technology Institute, the Department of Business, Energy & Industry Strategy, and Innovate UK. CAeS is backed by researchers from Cranfield University, a recognized hub for expertise in electric aircraft and other advanced aerospace technologies.

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