Zunum Aero, an electric aviation start-up backed by JetBlue and Boeing, is developing a hybrid electric aircraft, which is intended to offer a pollution-free, superior travel experience to passengers. It will also provide fast, reliable and cheap electric flight travel to passengers.

The aircraft will enhance short-haul travel, while accessing more than 5,000 under-utilised regional airports in the US. It is expected to reduce emission rates by 80%.

The aircraft is currently in the development stage and is expected to complete its flight test programme in 2019.

JetSuite signed an agreement with Zunum Aero in June 2018, to become the launch customer of the hybrid aircraft. The private jet operator intends to acquire up to 100 aircraft. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2022.

Zunum Aero hybrid electric aircraft design and features

Developed using advanced design techniques, the hybrid electric plane will incorporate an industry-proven design. It will feature a circular-shaped fuselage section attached with low-mounted wings and V-tail configuration.

The plane is designed to be transformed into a fully electric platform without requiring any mechanical retrofitting.

The hybrid aircraft will be 42ft (12.8m) long and 18ft (5.5m) high, while it will have a wingspan of 52ft (15.9m).

Avionics and interiors of the hybrid electric aircraft

The aircraft will be equipped with a state-of-the-art cockpit and next-generation fly-by-wire technologies. Energy delivery during the flight will be optimised by the integrated control devices.

The mid-sized aircraft will feature a spacious cabin with very quiet interiors. Either side of the cabin will integrate five windows.

“The jet can fly at a maximum altitude of 25,000ft (7,620m) and can reach a distance of more than 700mi (1,127km) without any mid-air supplies.”

The cabin can be configured with varied seating layouts. The economy seating layout houses 12 passengers, while premium and executive configurations offer seating for nine and six passengers respectively.


The aircraft will feature a Series hybrid powertrain and range extenders, as well as aft-mounted propulsors integrating fault-tolerant electric motors and controllers. The maximum power production capacity of the powertrain will be approximately 1MW.

The on-board turbo-generator can produce a maximum electric power of 500kW. It will also feature a quiet regenerative braking system.

The battery mass will constitute just 20% of the maximum take-off weight of the aircraft. The fuel tank on-board the aircraft will have the capacity to carry 800lb (363kg) of usable fuel.

The CO2 emissions of the aircraft according to the acceleration simulation mode will be less than 0.3lb. The effective perceived noise level of the plane will be 65 EPNdB and the operating cost of the aircraft will be $250 an hour.

Performance of Zunum Aero aircraft

The propulsion system will power the aircraft to attain a maximum cruise speed of 547km/h. Its stall speed will be 73 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS). The aircraft can climb at a rate of 1,600ft/min and can reach up to 25,000ft from sea level within 18 minutes.

The jet can fly at a maximum altitude of 25,000ft (7,620m) and can reach a distance of more than 700mi (1,127km) without any mid-air supplies.

The maximum payload carrying capacity and maximum take-off weight of the aircraft will be 2,500lb (1164kg) and 11,500lb (5216kg) respectively. The aircraft will require a 2,200ft (671m) distance for take-off, and a landing distance of 2,500ft (762m).