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Commercial Electric Aviation Just Became a Reality

Commercial Electric Aviation Just Became a Reality

So far, the electric plane has been limited to exhibitions and few occupants. Harbour Air just extended that frontier by completing the world’s first commercial flight on an electric plane. Although only four minutes (they had to cut the trip short to avoid adverse weather), the flight along the Fraser River, just south of Vancouver, was the beginning of the company’s efforts to go completely electric.

Harbour Air was founded in 1982 by Greg McDougall, who has made it his mission to embrace new technology and incorporate it into his business, now including his fleet of 40 seaplanes. The company specializes in tours along the Northwest Pacific coast and private charters. The new motors were manufactured by magniX and installed on a single-engine DHC-2 Beaver, although McDougall has plans to put them on all of Harbour’s models, including the twin-engine DHC-6 Otter.

Harbour isn’t alone in its green endeavors. Airbus has also unveiled plans for a hybrid passenger airliner, dubbed the E-Fan X. Its maiden flight is currently scheduled for next year. That high-wing craft will essentially be a BAe 146 that replaces one of its four turbofan engines with a two-megawatt electric motor and power generator from Siemens and Rolls Royce.

Boeing HorizonX currently backs Zunum Aero, a hybrid aircraft startup, but does not currently have any commercial rollout plans for the venture.

View Comments (3)


  1. sfcharles1

    February 14, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    Come on, folks. Just because the seats were designed to recline– 30 years ago– does not mean it’s ok to slam back into someone’s space todauy. The airlines have added 30% more seats from when these seats were made, and there is NO space to recline into without severely disturbing the person behind you. If you know what you do is going to negatively impact someone DO NOT DO IT. It’s kindergarden manners here. : DO NOT RECLILNE YOUR SEAT, because if you do you are invariably going to hit somene’s knees, or at the very least intrude into their minimal space. It is rude and inconsiderate. Don’t.
    HAVE SOME COURTESY. Sit there like a grown up and start whining.
    Write to the airlines about being treated like cattle. Because not only have they added more seats, they have also cut the number of flight attendants… sacrificing service and now safety. So be heard… write your complaints to the airlines every time you fly. Do something to help everyone who flies…but do not put your seat back, because you KNOW you will be offending someone if you do. And that’s not nice.
    And for my part I will tell you: I do not ever recline my seat. I am a very tall man and have had my knees bruised and coffee spilled into my lap by as*holes who dart their chairs back… so I know how it feels, and therefore would never dream of doing that to someone else.
    Isn’t that what we all learned in kindergarten?

  2. mvoight

    February 14, 2020 at 8:20 pm

    sfcharles – I don’t see the connection with this article about Harbour’s electric test flight

  3. Dublin_rfk

    February 15, 2020 at 3:09 am

    Call me when all the (four in this case) engines are electric. Until then keep working.

    PS: we need more research into particle beam mater transporters.

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