Fuel cell flight

Have you had a chance to check out this story today about the first-ever flight of a manned airplane powered by hydrogen fuel cells?

You can also read more about it here, and view a video of the flight.


This experimental airplane made three test flights in February and March, powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

The test flights – true aviation firsts – took place in Spain and are part of the work of the team at Boeing Research and Technology Europe together with our industry partners.

Comments (4)

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

I read the reports from Boeing.com and MSNBC and
saw the video, I was impressed. Before I saw the video and read the reports I thought that hydrogen fuel cell's was relegated to powering public buses and select small ugly cars with no trunk space that will probably end up buried in New Mexico just like
all those E.T. Atari game cartridges from 1982 that never sold, or crushed like the GM-EV-1's.

The flight of the fuel cell aircraft goes to show the the advancement of fuel cell technology has
not only made these engines light enough to be carried onboard aircraft but can generate the power needed to power an aircraft.

With the application of a powerful and light enough fuel cell engine to power a small aircraft, the uses for the hydrogen fuel cell engine is almost limitless. Imagine if the common automobile were to have the fuel cell, the fuel source would be unlimited, we would not have to drill for oil in counties that are hostile to us and their citizens and causes global warming, and not to mention the use of corn ethanol that has caused the price of wheat to go up like a rocket and still causes pollution. The hydrogen fuel cell is the best method to replace the reciprocating engines in cars and planes.

Even though like anything else that is new and in development some problems will arise as progress is made but in the end the hydrogen fuel cell may be the best choice that we have to replace the fossil fuel powered engine and economy with a hydrogen powered economy not to mention a safe and clean one too with more affordable pizza and pasta.

Congratulations to Boeing for leading the initiative for cleaner and greener airplanes.

Jeff (AL):

Aviation Week article today points out Boeing is looking to use this fuel cell technology on a future UAV. That sounds like a great application.

G (france):

In this report, Global Load Factor Falls, Mr. Giovanni Bisignani from IATA stated something quite interesting.

Quote (emphasis added):
“US-EU Open Skies will be yet another variable in a very complicated equation,” said Bisignani. “Out of Europe’s busiest international hub - Heathrow - there are 25% more weekly flights scheduled to serve the US market. Consumers will benefit from greater choice and lower fares due to intensified competition. We expect a counter-cyclical boost in April traffic as result. The question will be how much and for how long.”

The normal belief is that Heathrow is slot restricted.
Randy, how do they manage to make 25% more flights from/to North America from this very busy airport?

Ashley Palmer (California):

Once again Boeing has led the way. Now let's see if other companies (US and Foreign) pounce on this then take the credit and the market using subsidies.

My only technical issue is that these fuel cells seem to give small power to their weight and complexity. I note that the aircraft is a single seat ultralight-class aircraft. Does that mean that large transports are too far distant?

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