World’s first 4-seater hydrogen fuel-cell plane takes off in Germany

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Aircraft engineers in Germany have tested the world’s first four-seater plane that uses emission-free hybrid fuel cells to fly.

The 10-minute test flight on Thursday at Stuttgart Airport in southwestern Germany involved two pilots and two dummy passengers.

The twin-cabin plane, known as HY4, was developed by the aircraft maker Pipistrel, the fuel cell specialist Hydrogenics, the University of Ulm and the German Aerospace Center DLR.

It uses hydrogen to generate electricity in-flight, giving it a cruising speed of 165 kilometres per hour and a range of up to 1,500km, while relying on batteries for take-off and landing.

Boeing and Airbus have also tested smaller fuel cell planes in recent years as the aircraft industry searches for ways to reduce emissions.

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