First Fully Electric Commercial Aircraft Takes Flight

Kyle JonasSTAFF | 12/20/2019

DON MACKINNON | AFP | Getty Images

On Tuesday, December 10th 2019, in Canada, a fully electric aircraft has flown. This is the first aircraft of its type in the world. The seaplane, a 62 year old DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver, flying with the registration C-FJOS, flew for 15 minutes around Vancounver, Canada. The aircraft has been retrofitted with a 750 horsepower motor manufactured by the U.S. company MagniX and is owned by Harbour Air.

Harbour Air, a Canadian seaplane airline, is working with the U.S. company to build a fleet of 40 fully electric aircraft. There has been a large concern around air travel and its effect on the planet, and using electric aircraft will dampen the effect aviation has on the climate. In  a statement, Harbour Air's CEO Roei Ganzarski said, In December 1903, the Wright Brothers launched a new era of transportation—the aviation age—with the first flight of a powered aircraft. Today, 116 years later, with the first flight of an all-electric powered commercial aircraft, we launched the electric era of aviation. 


The transportation industry and specifically the 

aviation segment that has been, for the most part, stagnant since the late 1930s, is ripe for a massive disruption. Now we are proving that low-cost, environmentally friendly, commercial electric air travel can be a reality in the very near future."

In addition to fuel efficiency, the electric motor requires less upkeep. Harbour Air Founder Greg McDougall also piloted the short flight around the Fraser River, near Vancouver International Airport (YVR). After the flight, he noted that flying the modified aircraft was "just like flying a Beaver, but it was a Beaver on electric steroids." He also mentioned that he had to "back off on the power." 

The airline and MagniX must now go through the certification process and get approval for both the engine as well as retrofitting the aircraft. Harbour Air hopes to have a fleet of 40 fully electric seaplanes within two years, and eventually would like to have a fully electric fleet. 

What are your thoughts on the electrifying of aircraft? For more information, you can go to Harbour Air's website, or simply search up "World's First Fully Electric Flight" to find many articles, including ones used in this article. 


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