After inking a strategic partnership with major aircraft charter operator, FalconAir, and completing their feasibility study, Aviation H2 is on track to have Australia’s first hydrogen-powered plane in the sky midway way through 2023. The company says all this progress has been due to its experienced team of directors.
Leading its charge, which has seen the selection of a preferred hydrogen carrier and an alliance with FalconAir, is Dr Helmut Mayer, an experienced pilot, engineering designer, systems architect, senior executive and business owner with over 20 years of experience in the design and delivery of large bulk material handling machines.
He has built several businesses, including Mayer International Design Engineers and Mayer International Machines, from small design-only activities to delivering large complex multi-million mobile machines for global customers.
Helmut has been the principal engineer and project director on numerous machine design projects in Australia, South Africa, India and Colombia, and has developed effective techniques for running design and delivery projects with multiple teams distributed across numerous global locations and cultures.
Helmut’s PhD research on mitigating the effects of errors on the outcome of design processes, has proven instrumental in the completion of the feasibility study, which outlines a clear pathway to building a hydrogen-fuelled plane.
His brother and fellow director, Christof Mayer, is a structural engineer and expert in large scale bulk handling machines with 30 years’ experience in design, construction and rectification.
Christof’s body of work has had a significant influence on the practices in major operations. The company says his master’s degree in Industrial Automation will be crucial in the control of the fuel fed into the modified turbofan engines.
Over the years, Christof has played a pivotal role in numerous ground-up greenfield designs as well as construction, big lift, upgrade and maintenance engineering projects.
This is complemented with numerous placements in project and construction management as well as countless break-down and maintenance sorties.
He will ensure that the company has the right people, process and expertise to keep the company safe, on track and moving in the right direction.
Tackling regulatory challenges
Captain Gregory Keogh is a highly experienced pilot with more than 17,000 hours of wide-body jet experience and a successful track record in creating and building aviation businesses, in flight safety, flight resource training, regulatory management, and aircraft purchase.
Greg is a founding director of Make 21st Century Aeronautics and his extensive aviation experience makes him instrumental in developing the business model, guiding the technological requirements of its systems, and establishing its operations
His extensive expertise will also help Aviation H2 navigate the regulatory challenges associated with hydrogen-powered flight.
Yianni Chapley is a senior project manager with experience in capital markets, capital raisings and a proven track record in scaling-up businesses to commercialise technology.
He has a background in commercial property and investment/project management and sits on boards of various companies in executive and non-executive director roles.
Greening the aviation sector
And the team’s goal? Aviation H2 is on a mission to decarbonise the aviation sector by building a patentable method for converting existing aircraft to hydrogen fuel.
To this end, the company recently completed a feasibility study that identified liquid ammonia as the preferred carrier for green hydrogen, believing that it would be the best alternative to regular jet fuel.
It followed this up by forming a partnership with FalconAir – a specialist provider of charter and emergency medical evacuations in Australia and the Asia Pacific region – that grants the company access to its partner’s hangar, facilities and operating licences in which to build its prototype plane.
FalconAir will also help Aviation H2 acquire the test engines and aircraft that the company will modify to use liquid ammonia.