magniX, an Everett, WA based company that is producing electric motors for aircraft, recently shared noise testing results from flight tests of its all-electric floatplane, the eBeaver. These tests emphasize the reductions in noise pollution from an electric aircraft versus conventional internal combustion engine powered airframes. While the results are not entirely surprising, they substantiate the benefits of electric motors as both more efficient and quieter than currently available ICE engines. These qualities are key enabling aspects of the growing eVTOL industry, as they support the value proposition for continued investment and development of suitable electric alternatives to the currently available general aviation or light aircraft powerplant.
eBeaver noise testing results
magniX referenced in its press release a study from the Noise and Health International Journal, which found that aircraft noise is one of the most detrimental environmental effects of the aviation industry. This study solidly supported the magniX’s vision for replacing combustion engines with all-electric motors. In particular, the study stated that aviation noise related to ICE engines has the potential to disrupt sleep, adversely affect academic performance in children and even increase the risk for cardiovascular disease of people living near airports. While the general aviation industry did not grow significantly during the past year, projections of the demand for smaller short to medium range aircraft that are efficient and cost effective do provide reinforcement for the value of creating suitable electric alternatives to ICE powered aircraft.
magniX’s data shows an average noise reduction of 16-22 dBA across all phases of flight when comparing the electric ‘eBeaver’ to a traditional ICE-powered Beaver. The eBeaver recorded noise levels of 20.8 dBA lower on average during the takeoff phase and 24 dBA lower at peak compared to the standard Beaver. Noise energy, which is calculated by weighed factors for peak amplitude, and duration, is on the order of 100 times lower in the eBeaver than on a standard Beaver.
“Intuitively, we knew electric powered aircraft should be quieter than traditional powered aircraft, but these results highlight just how significant the difference is which is pretty amazing,” said Roei Ganzarski, CEO of magniX. “These results are great news for residential communities near airports. A significant overall reduction in aviation-related noise will allow more flexibility in terms of flight times and flight volumes, promoting greater mobility, connection and broader choice in smaller and regional airports.”
Noise regulations continue to be tightened over time by regulators such as the FAA and EASA to help restrict the amount of noise pollution emitted from aircraft. Electric aircraft will enable increased flexibility in operators’ selection of airports and times of operation, as some airports maintain a limited set of hours during which traditional combustion-powered airplanes can perform takeoffs and landings.
Why it’s important: The flight test noise data from magniX’s electric Beaver are clear: electric motors reduce the noise signature in small aircraft such as seaplanes, especially during noisy portions of flight, such as takeoff and when high power settings are used. These same results and powerplant technologies, when applied to eVTOL aircraft, will allow for greater route options and flexibility given a larger suite of airport destinations that are available to aircraft with lower noise emissions.