Cassio production to be handled by Sonaca Aerostructures Group
As part of VoltAero's plan to build hybrid-electric aircraft, Sonaca will develop the airframe for the Cassio family of aircraft. French company VoltAero said its new Belgian partner would assist in the transition of the four- to 10-seat fixed wing aircraft from its current Cassio 1 technology demonstrator to a full-scale production model.
First deliveries of the four-seat Cassio 330 are expected to begin in 2023. In addition, the company intends to offer six-seat Cassio 480s and ten-seat Cassio 600s with 750-mile ranges and 230-mph cruise speeds.
This aircraft is designed with a forward-fixed canard and an aft-set wing that supports an elevated horizontal tail. Cessna 337 Skymaster, the basis for the current Cassio 1 testbed, will be replaced by a more aerodynamic fuselage in production aircraft.
Hugues Langer, Sonaca's chief technology officer, said the company is among the top-10 aerostructures companies in the world. An engineering team will oversee the transition to production of the program, and a manufacturing partner will be selected later. The Cassio family will be licensed for production both in North America and Asia by VoltAero.
The Cassio 1 technology demonstrator, equipped with a pair of Safran ENGINeUS 45 electric motors, was first flown by VoltAero's hybrid-electric propulsion system in early October. To conduct further testing of the new powertrain, it postponed a 10-city tour of France earlier this week.
In addition to announcing a partnership with Edeis, VoltAero announced this month that it will support the development of infrastructure, support, and customer service necessary for starting commercial operations. VoltAero's Royan-Media Airport headquarters is the development facility for the new aircraft.