Future Flight: Pupils join scientific search for aviation climate solutions

October 2023

Thursday, 5 October 2023 – As the aviation industry seeks innovative solutions to help tackle climate change, school pupils will be given the opportunity to work on one of the most promising technologies.


ZeroAvia, a leading company developing new hydrogen-electric, zero-emission engines for commercial aircraft, today welcomed 38 students aged between 13 and 18 from across the UK to the Cotswold Hangar for the launch of Future Flight, a collaborative research project with the Institute for Research in Schools.


As part of Future Flight, students will work on projects alongside their normal lessons to explore the concepts and technologies that propel aviation, from aerodynamics to hydrogen-electric propulsion.


At the launch, the students will receive demonstrations and an introduction to clean flight technologies, including a tour of ZeroAvia’s fuel cell ad electric motor labs and the testbed Dornier 228 aircraft. Over the coming months, the school pupils will learn how to use engineering design software.

Students at launch of Future Flight

Left to right: Jude, year 13 student from Worcester Sixth Form, Pablo de Felipe, engineer Zeroavia, David, year 12 student from SGS Berkeley.

They will then use this software to investigate the most efficient and economical ways to fly a commercial route using new sustainable fuels and technologies, and it’s hoped they may come up with fresh innovative ideas.


“As scientists are still working out how we can balance the Government’s ambitions of net-zero and people’s desire to travel the globe, students won’t find these answers in the back of a book. Future Flight is a fantastic opportunity for secondary and college students to not just consider the possibilities of hydrogen power through academic research, but also learn how to think critically and work together to find solutions.


“We’re looking forward to bringing Future Flight to state secondary schools across the country. The project is free and fully supported by the IRIS team,” says Jo Foster, Director for IRIS and former head of science.

Helen and Danile from Cirencester Kingshill School in Cockpit of converted Dornier 228 made its first hydrogen-powered flight this year.

Helen and Daniel, year 10 students from Cirencester Kingshill School, in the cockpit of converted Dornier 228, which made its first hydrogen-powered flight this year.

“The clean-tech revolution will continue for generations to come, and it will, indeed, require many passionate and talented scientists and engineers. We developed Future Flight to inspire these future innovators to consider a career in net-zero aviation,” says Sally Williams, Early Careers Manager at ZeroAvia.


Aviation is currently responsible for around 2.5% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and in the UK, the government’s target to reach net zero by 2050 is pushing sector leaders to drive forward serious change.


ZeroAvia is making huge strides in this space already and is currently developing the first zero-emission powertrain for aviation using a hydrogen-electric engine. In January 2023, a 19-seat test-bed aircraft took flight for the first time, with a total of ten test flights proving the zero-emission engine’s capability.


The Future Flight project gives students a unique opportunity to see this work in action and lead their own guided research into aircraft performance and hydrogen application within fuel cells for aviation.


The Future Flight project is a collaboration between ZeroAvia and The Institute for Research in Schools (IRIS), and is funded by Innovate UK, the UK’s national innovation agency.

Sally Williams, Early Careers Manager at ZeroAvia speaking to a teacher from Cirencester Kingshill.

Future Flight

Students join the global challenge to make aviation more sustainable.




IRIS projects support students and teachers, wherever they are on their research journey.