The ambitions of new French startup Aura Aero have rocketed, from developing a two-seat aerobatic aircraft to producing an electric 19 seater regional airliner.
The company has established a 3,500 square metre site at Toulouse-Francazal airport in south-west France, in a building dating back to 1937 and which is said to be the French Air Force’s first hangar. Aura Aero calls it ‘upcycling’.
Aura Aero will host its entire production chain on the location, including design office, manufacturing and final assembly line, testing and customer delivery zones. It plans to assemble 30 aircraft in 2022, 50 in 2023, with the objective of reaching 80 to 100 deliveries at the end of 2024.
Three versions of the aerobatic two-seater are planned. First is the tailwheel IntegralR which has already flown and is on course for type certification this year with first deliveries following immediately.
This year will also see the first flight, this summer, of Integral S, the tricycle landing gear version, still powered by thermic thrust and intended for professional civil and military pilots and for recreational flying.
And an electric version, Integral E, will take to the air in 2022 and already has a backlog of 50 orders.
Beyond this, Aura Aero is developing an electric thrust 19 seater regional transport aircraft. The ‘ERA’ (Electrical Regional Aircraft) is scheduled to perform its maiden flight in 2024, with Entry-into-Service planned for 2026.
The local authority of Occitanie Region is supporting Aura Aero’s pre-industrialisation phase with a €200,000 grant and a €1m innovation contract for the development of the electric version.
The Region is also supporting the ERA project with €3-5m under the Toulouse Aerospace Valley‘s MAELE (Environmentally Responsible Light Air Mobility) initiative.
Jérémy Caussade, president and co-founder of Aura Aero, said, “Thanks to these new facilities Aura Aero can pursue its growth in a modular and evolutive area, which will enable us to go ahead with the certification campaign for Integral R and to launch the S version with tricycle landing gear and the electric E version.
“In parallel, we are beginning to work on our strategy aimed at the low-carbon regional transport market, with an electric thrust 19 seater aircraft, and we are aiming to create an airline/airport coalition for low-carbon aviation.”
Carole Delga, president of the Occitanie Region, said, “We will always need aircraft. Greener, lighter, electric and probably hybrid aircraft. France must be a leader on this topic. We must show great political voluntarism, by devoting new resources to research and development.
“We stand alongside our regional companies and support innovative projects such as Aura Aero. Drawing on cutting-edge technology will enable us to create many jobs and to maintain key-competences on our territories.”