A Cessna Caravan fitted with an electric motor successfully flew in the USA yesterday, making it the largest all-electric aircraft to fly.
The flight took place at Grant County International Airport in Washington state.
Electric power innovator magniX and aircraft technology company AeroTEC jointly developed the eCaravan, which is powered by a 560-kW magni500 propulsion system.
"The iconic Caravan has been a workhorse of industry moving people and transporting goods on short routes for decades," said Roei Ganzarski, CEO of magniX. "This first flight of the eCaravan is yet another step on the road to operating these middle-mile aircraft at a fraction of the cost, with zero emissions, from and to smaller airports.
"These electric commercial aircraft will enable the offering of flying services of people and packages in a way previously not possible."
Lee Human, President and CEO of AeroTEC, said that the successful flight pushed electric power development for aircraft into new areas.
"I'm proud of the pioneering work performed by our engineers, technicians and flight test team," Human said. "There's no roadmap for testing and certifying electric aircraft – this is a new frontier and AeroTEC is on the front lines developing the processes and best practices that will pave the way for electric aviation.
"The flying of the eCaravan serves as another critical step in the certification and approval process of the magni500 propulsion system, enabling future conversions of additional aircraft to magniX's all-electric propulsion technology."
Singapore-owned magniX develops and builds a range of electric engines for aircraft, 375 hp and 750 hp all-electric motors, which produce zero emissions.
AeroTEC develops, tests and certifies new aircraft products, using scalable development, test and certification techniques to help large and small aerospace companies.