French start-up Aura Aero has begun tendering for suppliers of key components for its hybrid-electric ERA 19-seater, as the developer pushes for a first flight towards the end of 2026.

Aura is seeking suppliers for work packages including fuselage design, airframe engineering services, turbogenerator, primary flight-control system actuators and inceptors, says the Toulouse Francazal airport-based firm.

Aura Aero ERA-c-Aura Aero

Source: Aura Aero

ERA is set to enter service before the end of the decade

Last year, Aura struck an agreement with Safran Helicopter Engines to supply turbogenerators for the first flight-test aircraft.

Aura’s schedule calls for the manufacturing of parts for that prototype “as soon as early 2025”, allowing a first flight by the end of the following year.

“This new step will enable the manufacturer to select the suppliers which will participate in this ambitious programme,” the company adds.

“It paves the way for manufacturing to start with the first metal cut for some major parts of the aircraft.”

Aura’s tender launch follows a programme review, carried out from December to March, “defining the different architectural choices for the materials and systems”, and allowing the design to reach so-called maturity gate 4.

An image released by the company shows the latest iteration of the ERA retains its distributed propulsion architecture, with four electric motors on each wing, alongside a T-tail and a long slender wing with upswept tips.

Separately, Aura has signed an agreement with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) as a first step towards intended certification in the CS-23 commuter aircraft category.

Through the Pre-Application Services Contract, the parties will work together to define the framework through with the aircraft will eventually gain type approval.

EASA says the French airframer is the first company to engage with it “in the field of electric commuter aircraft”.

Aura is aiming for the ERA to enter service before 2030 – its previously stated target was 2028. The firm has so far taken around 500 pre-orders for the aircraft.

Featuring an aluminium fuselage and carbonfibre wing, the ERA’s eight electric motors will be powered by twin turbogenerators, and four battery packs, giving it a range of 900nm (1,670km).