VoltAero urges Europe to increase coordination on electric aircraft testing



VoltAero has called for increased coordination among Europe’s aviation authorities on a standardised registration process to allow demonstration of electric aircraft across European borders. 

The move follows the forced postponement of planned demonstration flights for France-based VoltAero’s Cassio aircraft in the Netherlands. The delay was due to differences in the recognition of how experimental (prototype) aircraft are registered – and accepted – by the airworthiness authorities in France and the Netherlands.

Dutch regulations stipulate that only aircraft that are registered in the civil aircraft registry are allowed to operate in Dutch airspace and at Dutch airports. In France, experimental aircraft such as Cassio 1 are traditionally not registered as normal aircraft.

A statement by the French DGAC civil airworthiness authority regarding the status of Cassio 1 was provided on request of VoltAero to resolve the issue, but it proved insufficient for Dutch authorities to give Cassio 1 permission to fly in Dutch airspace. Certain other European countries have regulations that do provide a legal option to give permission for non-registered aircraft to fly in their airspace.

Jean Botti, VoltAero’s CEO and chief technology officer said: “It is heartbreaking to see that the joint efforts of VoltAero and Power Up have been blocked by these inconsistencies.”

”This not only is a problem for our specific demonstration flights – which would have involved just five days of flying; it could hinder the electric aviation industry’s evolution as a whole. There is a need for testing new technologies across countries and borders. We call on policymakers throughout Europe to work towards harmonised regulations to ensure that the development of new sustainable aircraft technology can be achieved as efficiently as possible,” Botti added.

VoltAero is developing a family of electric-parallel hybrid aircraft based on the company’s proprietary electric-hybrid powertrain. Its Cassio 1 testbed has undergone extensive airborne evaluations since 2020 with VoltAero’s full-power 600-kilowatt electric-hybrid powertrain, logging some 10,000km in flights in France and to the United Kingdom.

The in-country demonstration with Cassio 1 was to have involved 17 flights, allowing the analyses of operational costs, ground infrastructure requirements and technical support for future use. Botti said VoltAero remains fully ready to undergo the demonstration once the aircraft is accepted by the Netherlands.

The Cassio will be certified to Europe’s EASA CS23 specification as a single-engine, general aviation category aircraft.

Revolution.Aero recently interviewed company CEO Jean Botti in our weekly Uplift newsletter – Volt from the Blue. We discussed the plans for demonstration flights and the future of regional air mobility along with Gerben Broekema from the Power Up initiative.