The two companies completed installation of the MagniX motor on a de Havilland Canada prototype

Harbour Air Seaplanes recently entered a partnership with MagniX in order to begin the conversion to the first all-electric airline. For that purpose, the company has installed the MagniX electric motor onto a de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver, and plans to complete the prototype soon in order to begin testing. 

“With incredible work being completed each day and a number of integral components being delivered over the next few weeks, we are in the midst of some of the most exciting and critical development work. Currently, we are on track for the first test flight to take place before the end of the year. By mid-November, we expect to have a concrete time-frame to test the first fully electric flight.”

Harbour Air announced that the 560kW magni500 electric motor, along with other components, had been installed onto the aircraft. What now remains is the final battery strings, development and installations of wiring, installation of a battery management unit and power system, as well as preliminary tests for the prototype. The company announced the aircraft conversion is progressing normally, and should enter testing by the end of the year.

Harbour Air and MagniX’s prototype aircraft, currently under construction.

“With the delivery and successful installation of the magniX motor, we are working hard to connect the internal systems in preparation for its first flight,” the company wrote. Harbour Air is strongly dedicated to the full conversion to electric; Greg McDougall, founder and CEO of Harbour Air believes that electric planes will reduce long-term costs for their fleet. “Electric motors are extremely reliable. They don’t have the same number of moving parts as a turbine or piston engine and they have much better durability,” he said in a statement in March.

The goal of the company is to eventually transition over to a fully electric fleet. However, since the new design still needs approval from both Transport Canada and the Federal Aviation Administration, Harbour Air reported that their new aircraft would not fly commercially until 2022 at the earliest. 

Why it’s important: Harbour Air presents an ideal airline for the conversion to a fully-electric fleet, as their flight routes consist of domestic flights in the PNW region. As a result, the current limited operational range of electric motor technology will not have as large of an impact compared to other airlines. The successful conversion of Harbour Air’s fleet will present a valuable opportunity to further develop and refine electric battery technology, which could potentially improve the utility of fully electric eVTOL aircraft.

Source // New Atlas

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Posted by Ian Shin

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