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North America’s largest seaplane-based airline – Harbour Air in Vancouver – has launched a trail blazing project to convert its aircraft from fossil fuel engines to electrical power plants.
It will do so in partnership with magniX, a company at the forefront of the electric aviation revolution. Together, they plan to transform Harbour Air to an all-electric commercial fleet powered by the magni500, a 750-horsepower electric motor.
“We are once again pushing the boundaries of aviation by becoming the first commercial aircraft to be powered by electric propulsion,” said Greg McDougall, founder and CEO of Harbour Air Seaplanes. “We are excited to bring commercial electric aviation to the Pacific Northwest, turning our seaplanes into ePlanes.”
A Harbour Air ePlane will have zero reliance on fossil fuels and produce zero emissions. The first aircraft to be converted will be the DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver, a six-passenger commercial aircraft used across Harbour Air’s route network. Harbour Air and magniX expect to conduct the first flight tests of the all-electric aircraft in late 2019.
Harbour Air operates 12 routes between hubs like Seattle and Vancouver and across the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest. It welcomes more than 500,000 passengers on 30,000 commercial flights each year.
In 2018, 75% of worldwide airline flights were of 1,000 miles (1,600 km.) or less in range, says magniX, which has offices in Seattle and Gold Coast, Australia.
“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,” said Roei Ganzarski, CEO of magniX. “This partnership will set the standard for the future of commercial aviation operators.”
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