Universal Hydrogen gains FAA G-1 approval for airliner conversion

A Universal Hydrogen test aircraft in Mojave CA.
Photo Credit: Universal Hydrogen

On September 14, Universal Hydrogen passed a further milestone in its quest to introduce passenger service regional airplanes converted to run on hydrogen within the next few years.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has officially accepted Universal Hydrogen’s application for a supplemental type certificate (STC) concerning the conversion of ATR 72 regional airliners.

These aircraft will be powered by Universal Hydrogen’s groundbreaking liquid hydrogen modules and a fuel cell-electric propulsion system.

The FAA Certification

The FAA has issued the G-1 Issue Paper, a pivotal document that represents a crucial step in establishing certification criteria.

This includes tailoring applicable airworthiness and environmental standards, which are essential for the FAA to ultimately certify Universal Hydrogen’s design for the ATR 72 conversion to hydrogen power.

The Universal Hydrogen green fuel technology aircraft.
Photo Credit: Hartzell Propeller


Carl Burleson, former acting deputy administrator of the FAA and an advisor to Universal Hydrogen, emphasized the significance of this achievement:

“For something as novel as hydrogen-powered airplanes, establishing the certification basis is a critically important milestone in the certification process.”

“This is the culmination of nearly two years of effort between us and the FAA on this trailblazing project, which represents a key part of the solution set to help address the aviation industry’s commitment to a zero-carbon future.”

The Path Forward

Universal Hydrogen is now actively collaborating with the FAA to finalize the full set of certification requirements in the coming months.

The company, which achieved a significant feat earlier this year by successfully flying the world’s largest hydrogen-powered regional airplane, has embarked on an ambitious ground and flight test campaign.

This campaign aims to gather all the necessary data to demonstrate compliance with the airworthiness and safety standards required for passenger aviation in the hydrogen era.

Mark Cousin, President and CTO of Universal Hydrogen, expressed his thoughts on this achievement:

“I believe we have an important industry first here, and we appreciate our responsibility to ensure that the airworthiness certification criteria that are established set a positive precedent for the rest of the nascent hydrogen aviation industry.”

A Universal Hydrogen ATR 72 flies on hydrogen fuel.

Industry Recognition and Support

Thomas d’Halluin, Managing Partner of Airbus Ventures, praised the company’s dedication, stating,

“Well-deserved congratulations to Universal Hydrogen on their important and closely teamed work with the FAA in achieving these core milestones, advancing practical hydrogen aviation right into present-day processes.”

Additionally, American Airlines, an investor in Universal Hydrogen, expressed its support. Jill Blickstein, Vice-President of Sustainability at American Airlines, stated, “American Airlines congratulates Universal Hydrogen on this critical milestone in its journey to bring hydrogen aviation to market.”

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 3 Min Read
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