This week, Canadian seaplane operator Harbour Air completed the first point-to-point test flight of an electrically powered De Havilland Beaver prototype aircraft. This time, the plane successfully finished its initial point-to-point test flight. The trip took 24 minutes and covered a distance of 72 kilometers totally on electricity. The jet reportedly had a lot of power left over when it landed, the flight was between Vancouver and Victoria on Canada’s Pacific coast.
De Havilland Beaver, a modified seaplane owned by Harbour Air, made a test trip from the Canadian mainland to Vancouver Island to demonstrate the viability of fuel-free flying.
The aircraft, which had a 2019 electric propulsion system conversion by MagniX, took off from Harbour Air’s terminal on the Fraser River near Vancouver International Airport and landed in Pat Bay near Victoria International Airport. Before returning to Harbour Air’s facilities at Vancouver International, the eBeaver will stay in Victoria to promote Harbour Air’s collaboration with the BC Aviation Museum, which intends to have an open house on August 20.
Additionally notable is the replacement of the “not state-of-the-art” battery pack from the original eBeaver with a new one. Its strong thermal runaway fire suppression system, which was designed for safety rather than range, allows the aircraft to fly at maximum gross weight with only a pilot on board. The aircraft will be able to carry three people in addition to the pilot thanks to the improved motor and battery pack.
According to McDougall, the new MagniX motor is better suited for small aircraft than the one that propels the first prototype. In fact, Harbour Air reduced the one currently undergoing flight testing from 750 horsepower by about 50%, which indicates that the Beaver is carrying more weight than is necessary, he said.
With this aim, they made some extremely audacious decisions to equip the six-seater planes with electric motor systems. The business partnered with MagniX, a business that is devoted to producing high-power electric motors.
The now-modified De Havilland Beaver took to the skies as an all-electric commercial aircraft at the end of 2019. Since that successful flight, the business has carried out more testing in an effort to obtain certification from both Transport Canada and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Kory Paul, vice president of flight operations at Harbour Air and one of the company’s test pilots, declared, “I am excited to announce that this historic flight on the ePlane went just as planned.