The Swedish start-up has abandoned plans to certify its aircraft under CS-23 rules but still aims to complete certification by 2026.
During 2021, Sweden-based Heart Aerospace made significant progress in its plans to bring the 19-seat ES-19 electric regional airliner to market in 2026. The company logged provisional sales commitments from airlines including Finnair and United, with the latter having invested in the venture.
Heart's engineering team has conducted testing with a ground-based prototype of the complete electric propulsion system. The program plan calls for a full-scale prototype, which will be quite close to the series production design, to start flight tests in mid-2024. The aircraft will be certified under EASA's CS23 standards. The manufacturer is in the early stages of applying for design organization approval.
Heart has developed its propulsion system in-house and is using automotive industry batteries as its power source. MT Propeller is providing the ES-19’s seven-blade propellers. The company is in talks with several aerospace groups with a view to source cockpit systems and flight controls.
The company believes its conventional fixed-wing aircraft with aluminum fuselage will be relatively straightforward to certificate. With zero emissions, it is expected to deliver 75 percent lower energy costs than conventionally-fueled aircraft, as well as 50 percent lower maintenance costs and 50 percent lower noise. These comparisons are based on current turboprop airliners such as the Dash 8, compared on a per-passenger basis and operating from a 2,460-foot runway.
Spain's Aernnova will jointly design the aircraft and has deployed an engineering team to work on design for the wing, fuselage, and empennage of the ES-19. The aircraft will feature an aluminum airframe with retractable landing gear, a high wing, a T-shaped empennage and a non-cylindrical fuselage that Heart says will maximize space in the cabin.
According to Heart, the initial production versions of the ES-19 will have a range of just under 250 miles. Last year, the company demonstrated the first version of its proposed electric propulsion system, which incorporates a 400-kW electric motor, lithium-ion batteries, and a motor controller.
In June 2022, Heart changed its strategy to certify the ES-19 from the CS-23 certification process to the CS-25 process. As a result of the similarities between EASA CS-25 and the FAA's 14 CFR Part 25 standards, the change will allow for the ES-19 to be more easily delivered to the U.S. market.