Faradair Aerospace Limited was formed in September 2014
Faradair® is a new aerospace start-up manufacturer based in the UK. The BEHA hybrid electric aircraft has been designed specifically to serve the regional air mobility market, allowing air to become a viable space for ordinary people to commute, travel around a country or for other opportunities such as cargo and non-civilian roles.
“Until the issues of noise, emissions and operational costs are addressed, the regional and urban aviation market opportunities will be restricted.” – Neil Cloughley, November 2014.
The company was launched to the public on November 17th 2014 with our vision for a new class of ‘Hybrid’ aircraft that could offer owners and operators an economically viable alternative to inter-city road and rail transport,
something that was proving difficult with existing air assets.
The founder of the company – Neil Cloughley, had over 20 years of business experience when he founded Faradair® with 13 of those years in the commercial aerospace sector, leasing, managing, acquiring, selling and financing all manner of commercial aerospace assets, including some for the new commercial Space sector.
The inspiration for Faradair® came from Neil’s childhood, growing up around his fathers innovative Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) manufacturing company in the 1980’s. A company that was at the forefront of joined wing technology and one that many considered to be 20 years ahead of its time, creating the world’s first Combat capable UAV. During this time, Neil saw iterations of joined wing air vehicles flown and became familiar with their flight characteristics, including box-wing configurations. This would later sow the seed for the BEHA and the long proven rationale behind the aircraft design and the market opportunity.
Neil is no stranger to innovation and in 2001 in his early business career, he took a device called a ‘tablet computer’ to the CeBit IT Trade Fair in Hannover, Germany (Forerunner to CES). Despite being four years ahead of Apple and their IPad, Neil was convinced by Venture Capitalists and Investors that the Tablet computer was a ‘fad’ and never likely to succeed. Whilst his venture did not succeed, he took many lessons from the experience but two of the most important lessons were;
1 – Judging by the 1 Billion tablet computers that have been sold today, don’t always believe those who tell you that you are wrong.
2 – If you believe in your product enough and can prove the business case and rationale behind it, never stop until you achieve your goals and objectives.
After many successful years within the commercial aircraft sector, Neil felt the timing was right in 2014 to establish Faradair®, creating a team with a wealth of experience (over 100 years of aerospace market knowledge) and developing a product idea and concept that could deliver regional air mobility by hybrid electric propulsion.
Everyone at Faradair® believes we need to return to the skies on a regional basis, to improve quality of life, reduce congestion, reduce journey times, reduce emissions thereby increasing competition and choice within commuter networks to lower costs. However just because you can design something that looks good, it may not deliver economic return and success and so the BEHA was designed and created to do a particular job and do it well.
The role model is the Cessna Caravan, a utility aircraft that has been in operation for around 40 years and still attracts orders to this day.
BEHA was designed to begin the transition to cleaner, quieter air travel with a revolutionary ‘Triple Box-wing’ design that was granted design patents. The aircraft will address the growing global requirement for eco-friendly transport options with lower cost of operations and multi-role capability. It will open the opportunity for responsible industry growth, creating a future ‘Green Aviation’ standard both in consumer and commercial aviation, based on deliverable technology, not fanciful trends.
Despite a lot of skepticism, in the first year of operations, the company achieved global media coverage, established key industry partners who provided expertise and engineering resources toward programme development. In the second year of operations, the initial BEHA aircraft design began its transformation from a design concept to viable aircraft platform. This rapid development can be seen when you compare the image below from our initial launch to the images you see above and on the website today.
The first concept image and beginning of the BEHA journey
In 2015, Faradair® began speaking at conferences across the world and attending meetings with UK Government departments and those responsible for Aerospace innovation and funding. Despite the convincing case for hybrid electric flight, funding remained a challenge and many of those responsible for awarding innovation funding dismissed the project entirely.
The company did win a £5k ‘voucher’ which was spent with Cranfield University to validate the wing design and configuration. It was proven that the design chosen works and more effectively than alternative configurations and the company continued it’s development programme.
The company forged close ties with its partner companies, especially PRODRIVE in Banbury. In 2016 Faradair® and PRODRIVE formed a joint venture company ‘Hybraero Limited’ to develop a new hybrid propulsion unit, incorporating an internal combustion engine, electric motor and battery pack as a direct fit replacement for many existing general aviation propulsion systems. More can be read about this separate stand-alone programme in the ‘Hybraero’ section.
Between 2016 and 2018 the programme won three awards, advised the UK Government on ‘Future Flight’ strategy in 2017 (published as policy in 2018) and spoke at numerous events, conferences and societies on the subject of Hybrid Electric and full electric flight.
The company has conducted further CFD analysis of the design to fine tune the product offering and focus on a particular size and mission capability for the aircraft. The team at Swansea University have been optimising the airframe and configuration and this is helping to shape the aircraft to the platform we see today.
In this time the market has exploded, with everything suggested and foreseen by Faradair® back in 2014, now becoming reality. The market has seen the arrival of UBER and a vision for E-VTOLS and the notions of distributed electric aviation is now a much closer reality.
The company continued its development programme and whilst a lot of media attention has been focused on a few select companies, primarily US centric companies, Faradair® has been creating scale models and developing at a pace that funds permitted, utlising partner resources and expanding the contact network of potential new suppliers and partners.
The company expanded its product portfolio in 2018 to offer a Hybrid, full electric and unmanned UAV variant of the BEHA and this has now been defined further with recent announcements. The BEHA is an 18 passenger seat Hybrid electric aircraft with quick change cargo capability, able to deliver a range of missions discussed on this website.
It is now 2019 and the company has recently revealed the long targeted goal of a 20 seat aircraft with the ability to carry 18 passengers or cargo payloads via LD3 containers. This is an aircraft that maximises revenue earning potential, whilst minimising environmental footprint, deliverable via realistic goals and technologies, resulting in actual air mobility for the majority of people, not a select group.
The company is now in dialogue with a number of new partners and suppliers and it has stated it’s intention to have a full size prototype aircraft flying in 2022 and certified by 2025.