Zero-emission aviation developer Universal Hydrogen has announced its selection of the Mojave Air & Space Port as its new flight test center.
This move marks the next phase in Universal Hydrogen’s extensive flight testing program for its hydrogen fuel cell turboprop test aircraft.
Washington to California ferry operation
The company successfully completed a ferry flight of its Dash-8 modified regional airliner from Moses Lake, Washington to Mojave, California.
The aircraft, which is named “Lightning McClean,” utilizes a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain, and is a key player in the move towards sustainable air travel.
The ferry flight covered a distance of over 800 nautical miles, making it the longest flight by a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain to date.
Flight test program to date
Universal Hydrogen’s flight testing campaign is well underway, with a series of successful test flights completed since the initial flight earlier this year.
During the second flight, the converted aircraft achieved a 30-minute flight at an indicated airspeed of 170 knots, reaching an altitude of 5,000 feet.
The third and fourth flight tests, conducted on June 12, saw the aircraft soar to altitudes of 10,000 feet, further validating the feasibility of hydrogen-powered aviation.
By relocating its flight test activities to the Mojave Air & Space Port, Universal Hydrogen strengthens its presence in California, where its global headquarters are based in Hawthorne.
This move enables closer coordination with the company’s core team and takes advantage of the engineering talent pool available in Mojave and the surrounding Los Angeles area.
Mark Cousin, the Chief Technology Officer of Universal Hydrogen, expressed gratitude to Washington state and Moses Lake for their support during the initial test flights. Cousin emphasized the company’s commitment to safety and its ambitious goal of bringing the converted aircraft into commercial service within the next two years.
Moving forward, Universal Hydrogen aims to leverage its calculated testing strategy to ensure the reliability and viability of its hydrogen fuel cell-powered aircraft.
Mojave Air & Space Port
The Mojave Air & Space Port, a historic location in aviation, has played a pivotal role in the industry since its opening in 1935.
Over the years, it has become a hub for innovation and groundbreaking achievements. Notable accomplishments include the Voyager’s record-breaking global flight in 1986 and the launch of SpaceShipOne, the first privately-funded human spaceflight, in 2004.
Tim Reid, General Manager of Mojave, welcomed Universal Hydrogen to the Mojave Air & Space Port and expressed enthusiasm for the company’s research and development efforts. Reid recognized the potential of Universal Hydrogen’s technology as a game changer for zero-emission flight, aligning with California’s environmental goals and contributing to the advancement of sustainable energy sources in the aviation industry.
Support from California
California, known for its leadership in renewable hydrogen production and sustainable aviation, has shown strong support for Universal Hydrogen’s initiatives.
Chair David Hochschild of the California Energy Commission applauded Universal Hydrogen for its accomplishments in achieving true zero-emission aviation.
Hochschild emphasized the significance of Mojave as a site of significant aviation and space history, expressing optimism about the positive impact Universal Hydrogen’s test flight operations will have on job creation and the fight against climate change.
Dee Dee Myers, GO-Biz Director and Senior Advisor to Governor Gavin Newsom, welcomed Universal Hydrogen’s expansion in California as a step towards achieving ambitious carbon reduction targets and strengthening the state’s green economy.
Myers expressed eagerness to witness the exciting progress of innovative companies like Universal Hydrogen in the coming years.