European start-up Heart Aerospace is planning to certify its battery-powered, full electric ES-19 regional aircraft under a higher weight category than originally planned. This change allows it “to optimize the product, reduce regulatory risk, and increase the accessible market”, Heart says in a media statement on June 16. Heart Aerospace de-risks ES-19 certification.

Heart is developing the 19-seater ES-19 since 2018, targeting in particular markets in the Nordic countries in Europe to comply with sustainability regulations. For example, Norway has introduced a mandate for electric short-haul flights from 2040. Heart has received commitments from Finnair and SAS, but its plans received a boost in July last year when United Airlines and regional operator Mesa Airlines said they want to buy a combined 200 electric aircraft. Using lithium-ion batteries, the aircraft will have a range of 400 kilometers.

The Gothenburg (Sweden) company originally planned to certify the ES-19 under EASA Certification Specification CS-23 and the US counterpart, the FAA’s CFR Part 23. They cover normal, utility, aerobatic, and commuter aircraft. The ES-19 would fall under the two-engine, propeller-driven commuter aircraft of up to nineteen seats and a Maximum Take-Off Weight of 8.618 kilograms/19.000 pounds.

According to the technical specifications, the ES-19 would stay slightly below this weight limit, but there would be a risk of exceeding it as the design is finalized. This would require an exemption to CS-23/Part 23 from EASA and the FAA which could have made certification a bit more complicated. That’s why the Swedish start-up now says it will certify the aircraft under EASA Certification Specification CS-25/FAA Part 25 for larger aircraft over 8.618 kilograms.

“The change of certification basis will increase flexibility to adapt the design requirements for the global market. A new aircraft certified under 14 CFR Part 25 will, for example, be allowed to operate scheduled commercial operations in the United States, as opposed to a new aircraft certified under 14 CFR Part 23, which cannot”, Heart says in a media statement. Heart will share more details about the design changes and the ES-19 during a Hangar Day, which is scheduled for mid-September in Gothenburg.

The design of the ES-19 is progressing well, the company says. Heart announced an industrial partnership with Spanish company Aernnova in November to co-design the structure of the aircraft. Aernnova is a major supplier to Embraer, Airbus, and Boeing. The ES-19 should enter commercial service in 2026.

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Richard Schuurman
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Active as journalist since 1987, starting with regional newspaper Zwolse Courant. Grand Prix reporter in 1997 at Dutch monthly Formule 1, general reporter Lelystad/Flevoland at De Stentor/Dagblad Flevoland, from 2002 until June 2021 radio/tv reporter/presentor with Omroep Flevoland.
Since mid-2016 freelance aviation journalist, since June 2021 fully dedicated to aviation. Reporter/editor AirInsight since December 2018. Contributor to Airliner World, Piloot & Vliegtuig. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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