The international seaplane operator eventually plans to convert their entire fleet.
Yesterday, North American seaplane airline Harbour Air announced their plans to convert their first commercial aircraft to all electric propulsion. They have partnered with MagniX, a company based in Redmond, WA that supplies electric propulsion systems to aircraft operators.
Both companies are looking to reach their vision of connecting communities via affordable electric air travel. The DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver aircraft is the first in the operator’s network that will undergo the transformation. As an all electric aircraft, the new ePlanes will require no fossil fuels and will not produce any emissions.
MagniX recently completed testing of their 350 HP motor. These future aircraft will be powered by the magni500, a 750 HP electric motor. Harbour Air and MagniX will begin initial test flights in late 2019. This first all-electric conversion will kick off the eventual transformation of the airline’s entire fleet.
Harbour Air founder and CEO Greg McDougall told the Times Colonist that the initial roll-out will be for demonstrations and short range flights. “The intent is to eventually convert the whole fleet. (…) It would be a staged situation because the range of the [electric] aircraft presently, with the present battery capacity, would be around a half an hour with a half-an-hour reserve. (…) But that’s changing very rapidly with the development of the battery technology.”
This is a similar strategy as many other operators experimenting with electric aviation. Such as Boeing’s planned air taxi service.
MagniX sees this battery technology advancing quickly and transforming the airline industry. “In 2018, 75 percent of worldwide airline flights were 1,000 miles or less in range. ” said Roei Ganzarski, CEO of MagniX. “With MagniX’s new propulsion systems coupled with emerging battery capabilities, we see tremendous potential for electric aviation to transform this heavily trafficked ‘middle mile’ range.”