The very first commercial electric plane has just completed its first full flight

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The very first commercial electric plane has just completed its first full flight

Harbor Airit is an airline that wants to become a pioneer in the use of electric aircraft. Recently, this company reached a milestone as it passed a test that has never been done before. A modernized seaplane of Harbor Air was able to complete the entire route between the Canadian mainland and Vancouver Island using only an electric propulsion system. For the company, this test demonstrates the viability of electric planes for short trips.

Harbor Air is the largest airline operating seaplanes in North America. It is estimated to carry nearly 500,000 passengers each year on 30,000 commercial flights. It was in 2019 that the company decided to take a new step, that of become the first airline in the world to use only electric aircraft.

Harbor Air plane
Harbor Air Credits

To achieve its goal, Harbor Air plans to modernize its seaplane fleet by equipping them with electric propulsion systems. These systems are produced thanks to the company’s partnership with the company MagniX which specializes in the manufacture of electric motors.

The first step

Harbor Air completed the first stage of its electrification in December 2019. At the time, its seaplane De Havilland Beaver modified to passed the first flight test of an all-electric commercial aircraft. The seaplane had made a short trip over the Fraser River in Richmond, British Columbia.

Since then, the company has continued its test program with the objective of certifying the seaplane with the FAA or Federal Aviation Administration of the United States, and Transport Canada.

To commercial use

On August 17, the electric seaplane succeeded in carrying out a route that resembles what future commercial routes will be. The aircraft took off from the Fraser River Terminal at 8:12 a.m., landing on Vancouver Island 24 minutes later. In all, the aircraft traveled 72 km with only the electric motorand the battery was still full on arrival.

Kory Paul, Harbor Air’s vice president of flight operations, and one of the test pilots, said he was delighted the historic flight aboard the electric aircraft went according to plan. He added that they are constantly monitoring the performance of the aircraft and that this test flight proves the safety and reliability of what they have built.

If all goes well on the side of Harbor Air, other companies could also follow and switch to the use of electric planes.

SOURCE: newatlas

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