Harbor Air ePlane eCTOL December 10, 2019 in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada.

On Dec. 10, Harbour Air, North America’s largest seaplane airline conducted a successful flight of what is claimed was “the world’s first all-electric commercial aircraft.” The flight was made in a six passenger de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver powered by a 750-hp (560-kW) magni500 propulsion system from Seattle-based magniX. The flight took place on the Fraser River at Harbour Air Seaplanes terminal in Richmond, British Columbia, near Vancouver [Canada]. (VFS photo by Gary Vincent)

2 Comments

  1. The Canadian’s got the right market focus… but they embarrassed themselves by trying to claim to be the “FIRST” all electric COMMERICAL aircraft. Putting a 560 kW electric motor where a jet-turbine should go was very poor engineering… the “battery packs” will consume almost all of the PROFITABLE lift capacity for “cargo” by using an existing BEAVER type aircraft design… SURE, it will take off with one client passenger and his fishing gear or briefcase and tablet computer, for pretty pictures and the first paying customer, but the killer of this self-promotion is that with all that battery weight those pontoons sink deep into the water, and to get that sucker into plane pre-lift-up mode on its skis tips takes a LOT of energy and runway (worse, if because of weather, they have to try two or three times to skim down the Vancouver bay to get the thing OFF the water… (Burt Rutan recently had a very similar serious problem on his final aircraft design that was to be a “sea-plane”). Great design but never took off (he finally got it right when people taught him how to build a boat).

    THEN add to that, landing somewhere out there where there is no fast recharge on some remote water with serious cross wind and waves complicating landing… (you have to come down and fly fast for a long landing path to keep the skis from diving deep into the water (Burt’s problem)). THIS IS A PR self-promotion gimmick… YES, I know, they only want to be an air-taxi from one richman’s waterport, across the bay a few miles to some other well equipped waterport. But the reason the Beaver has any market (and the reason they had to use the BEAVER, (vs a Cessna 172), at all is its use as a heavy cargo carrier for out-back woodsmen. Nice Pictures, nice PR for the future of electric VTOLs (thank you Vertiflite/Hampson), but being the “FIRST” to make a bad engineering design is not going down in history (except to be put in Mike’s historic encyclopedia of 700 VTOL craft that never became a real market success)… So, it’s BACK to a Jet-Turbine with their massive power per kio… to stay flying in bad weather… This is NOT for BATTERY power for at least the next 30 years.

  2. The Canadian’s got the right market focus… but they embarrassed themselves by trying to claim to be the “FIRST” all electric COMMERICAL aircraft. Putting a 560 kW electric motor where a jet-turbine should go was very poor engineering… the “battery packs” will consume almost all of the PROFITABLE lift capacity for “cargo” by using an existing BEAVER type aircraft design… SURE, it will take off with one client as passenger, and his fishing gear or briefcase and tablet computer, for pretty pictures and the first paying customer, but the killer of this self-promotion is that with all that battery weight those pontoons sink deep into the water, and to get that sucker into plane pre-lift-up-mode on its skis tips takes a LOT of energy/speed and runway (worse, if because of weather, they have to try two or three times to skim down Vancouver’s bay, to get the thing OFF the water)… (Burt Rutan recently had a very similar serious problem on his final aircraft design that was to be a “sea-plane”). Great glider type design but never took off (he finally got it right when people taught him how to build a boat).

    THEN add to that, landing somewhere out there where there is no fast recharge on some remote water with serious cross winds and waves complicating landing… (you have to come down (with batteries dying) and fly fast for a long landing path to keep the skis from diving deep into the water (Burt’s problem)). THIS IS A PR self-promotion gimmick… YES, I know, they only want to be an air-taxi from one richman’s waterport, across the bay a few miles to some other well equipped waterport. But the reason the Beaver has any market (and the reason they had to use the BEAVER, (vs a Cessna 172), at all, is its use as a HEAVY cargo carrier for out-back woodsmen. Nice Pictures, nice PR for the future of electric VTOLs (thank you Vertiflite/Hampson), but being the “FIRST” to make a bad engineering design is not going down in history (except to be put in Mike’s historic encyclopedia of 700 S/VTOL craft that never became a real market success)… So, it’s BACK to a noisy Jet-Turbine with their massive power per kio… to stay flying in ALL bay area bad weather… This is NOT for BATTERY power for at least the next 30 years.

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