Aura Aero, a French firm in the Occitanie region, maker of big and small electric aircraft, espouses eco-responsibility goals striving to contribute to the objective of reducing emissions by 55 percent in 2035 and reaching carbon neutrality in 2050. They aim to do this through reducing and eliminating carbon, choosing materials for their environmental consequences and lifecycles, and applying circular economy techniques for recycling.
Aura proclaims, “We design our aircraft anticipating the impact of their use and their ability to be recycled. We take into account, from the start, the environmental impact that our aircraft will have throughout their lifecycle, in order to reduce it as much as possible.”
The company has a reputation for the aerobatic two-seaters it hand makes, but is branching out into zero-emission alternatives and a larger, more complex machine.
Aura’s Integrale line of two-seat, side-by-side aerobatic craft will be joined with the Integrale E. The combustion-engine versions of the airplane are powered by Lycoming AEIO-390 engines producing 210 horsepower. They’re stressed for “brutal” flight dynamics at +8.5 Gs at 795 kilograms (1,753 pounds) and +7.5 Gs at 910 kilograms (2,006 pounds).
Integrale Rs are traditional “tail-dragger” aircraft, while Integrale S’s will feature the tricycle landing gear most modern pilots have been trained on. The E adds electric power to all variants. Every Integral is made of a traditional mix of wood and fabric, with a carefully integrated addition of carbon fiber composites.
Replacing the Lycomings, a Safran ENGINeUS™ electric motor “will be integrated” into the airframe, along with Safran’s GENeUSGRID™ electric distribution and protection system.
All E’s can be recharged in 30 minutes for 60 minutes of exhilarating flight time, either in aerobatics or pattern work. Deliveries should start in 2025.
Topping its unveiling, “Aura Aero announced a partnership with the Airbus Flight Academy Europe (AFAE), which supplies flight training services to the French Armed Forces and civilian /cadets. As part of the agreement, AFAE will partner with Aura Aero to develop the Integral E.”
The company is also developing the Electric Regional Aircraft (ERA), a hybrid electric 19-seater. This will be powered by a Safran generator system that will in turn send current to the eight electric motors on the high wings. Aura Aero hopes to become a pioneer in decarbonized aviation with this and its other electric offerings.
With the aircraft still under construction, its specifications seem to have been enough to draw Letters of Intent from 375 air carriers representing a valuation of $3.75 billion.
According to Aerotime.aero, “Under the terms of the MoU, Republic will provide strategic and operational advice to Aero Aura on its ERA program, offering the manufacturer support on the technical and commercial aspects of the ERA’s development.”
One of the largest regional airlines in North America, Republic operates 221 Embraer E170/175 regional jet aircraft, serving almost 100 destinations across North America. It has 6,000 employees, who will probably need orientation and training in the new technology. Electric aviation, it is probably safe to say, will have enormous effects on regional avation.
Jérémy Caussade, President and Co-founder of Aura Aero, commented on the partnership with Republic. “We are very proud to have Republic advising us on the requirements needed for a competitive aircraft in North America. At Aura Aero, we are convinced that electric is the future of regional aviation, and we want to pave the way for this revolution.”
Designed to address the environmental challenges of the 21st century by reducing CO2 emissions by up to 80 percent compared to other more conventional powered aircraft in the same category, ERA should be a welcome addition to Republic’s, and other regional carriers’ fleets.
With a pressurized passenger cabin, ERA will be able to fly at higher altitudes above inclement weather conditions. Its range of 1,440 kilometers (900 miles) and cruise speed of 250 knots (288 mph).
According to Aura Aero, the ERA will offer a range of up to 1,440km (900 miles) at a cruise speed of 250 knots (288 mph). The airplane can operate from international airports to runways as short as 800 meters (2,624 feet) because of its STOL (Short Take-Off and Landing) abilities.
We may see them in regular service soon, with first flights in 2026 and an entry into commercial service by 2028. Quieter airports will be more welcome neighbors in our future.
Aura is certainly an ambitious company with a progressive outlook. Your editor hopes for a ride soon.