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  • Writer's pictureDrea Hickman

Saving Lives, Cleaning Skies: Meet the Women Behind the Hydrogen Aviation Revolution

Danielle McLean & Dr. Rachel Locks

Danielle McLean & Dr. Rachel Locks in Burlington, VT with Beta's ALIA Aircraft

In 2019, two visionary women, Danielle McLean and Dr. Rachel Locks, came together with a shared passion for using technology to make a positive impact on the world. Danielle, an aerospace engineer, and Dr. Locks, a medical doctor, co-founded Happy Takeoff where they developed a hydrogen-powered eVTOL. With a focus on advancing clean aviation and saving lives, they quickly established themselves as leaders in the industry. A year later, in 2020, they took their vision a step further by creating the white paper entitled "CAPTIVE-USE HYDROGEN FOR ADVANCED AIR MOBILITY." The paper laid the foundation for the creation of HYSKY Society, a non-profit organization with a mission to advance hydrogen aviation in the U.S. and provide a sustainable solution for life-saving missions.

In their 2020 white paper, Danielle McLean and Dr. Rachel Locks discovered that the U.S. was trailing behind other countries in the field of hydrogen advancements, putting it at risk of missing out on the huge $10 trillion hydrogen market. Undeterred, they resolved to lead the hydrogen revolution.

With Dr. Locks' medical expertise and a shared passion for using technology for the greater good, McLean and Locks identified a vital need for hydrogen in aviation. The limitation of batteries, which can only fly for a maximum of 100 miles with zero emissions, brought to light the crucial role that hydrogen could play in powering zero-emission flights for life-saving air ambulance missions, which typically cover a range of 300 miles.

In addition to batteries not being able to power 300-mile flights, the rise of electric vehicles and batteries has brought attention to the unethical practices in the cobalt (an element used in lithium-ion batteries) mining industry. Many cobalt mines, especially in the Democratic Republic of Congo, rely on child labor and dangerous working conditions. This has led to concerns about the human rights violations and environmental degradation associated with the production of batteries.

It is important for companies and organizations in the aviation and technology industries to consider these ethical issues and take steps towards sourcing materials from responsible and sustainable sources. HYSKY Society, with its focus on advancing clean and sustainable aviation, is committed to ensuring that their hydrogen production and implantation of captive-use hydrogen is environmentally responsible and socially conscious.

In 2022, McLean founded HYSKY Society, with Dr. Locks joining the board of directors. The organization's focus on advancing hydrogen aviation in the U.S. is leading the way in sustainable air mobility. Hydrogen is also just as safe as other fuels, making it a superior choice for aviation, and its eco-friendliness has made it an attractive option for the industry.

HYSKY Society is on a mission to bring all the hydrogen aviation stakeholders together at their flagship event, FLYING HY, on June 21-23, 2023. FLYING HY is the world's largest hydrogen aviation event, with over 1000 attendees. The event will showcase the capabilities and benefits of hydrogen aviation, solidifying HYSKY Society's position as a leader in the industry.

As HYSKY Society continues to advance clean aviation and save lives, it is always looking for support from like-minded individuals and organizations. Donating to HYSKY Society is an opportunity to make a positive impact on the planet and support the vision of Danielle and Rachel. Attending FLYING HY is an opportunity to experience the future of aviation and be a part of the hydrogen revolution. Join Danielle and Rachel in their mission to revolutionize sustainable air mobility and make a difference in the world.

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