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article imageWorld's largest all-electric aircraft makes first flight

By Karen Graham     May 30, 2020 in Technology
Redmond - Thursday in Washington State, aviation history was made when the world's largest all-electric plane took its maiden flight. The all-electric eCaravan is a retrofitted Cessna and can carry nine people.
The eCaravan plane is a modified Cessna Caravan 208B. It was created in a collaboration between startup electric engine company magniX - headquartered in Redmond, Washington, and Seattle-based, AeroTEC, a leading independent company focused on aerospace testing.
The modified Cessna Caravan 9-passenger prop plane made its all-electric first flight at Moses Lake on Thursday. This particular plane is considered a "flying testbed," according to MagniX CEO Roei Ganzarski, reports the Seattle Times.
This is because the cabin of the plane held about two tons of lithium-ion batteries and cooling equipment, so there really wasn't room for a passenger. “Yeah, I couldn’t fit a person in that aircraft. There was not even an attempt to put the batteries in a more convenient place,” said Ganzarski.
The Moses Lake flight “follows a similar first flight in Vancouver, British Columbia, in December 2019 of a modified de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver seaplane powered by the same MagniX 750-horsepower motor.
Because “these and similarly sized airplanes are certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for commercial flights, getting a modified e-plane model certified should be faster than certifying some all-new electric airplane design.” Ganzarski said.
MagniX was founded on the idea that lower cost, cleaner transport solutions are possible in the aviation industry. The young company, formed in 2009 hopes to shape the future and influence and inspire existing and new companies to go electric with a sustainable solution.
According to the International Council on Clean Transportation, “commercial aviation accounts for about 2 percent of global carbon emissions.” For the transportation sector as a whole, its responsible for around 12 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions, reports CNBC.
There have been some first flights of innovative aircraft over the last several years. In 2016, the Solar Impulse 2, a manned aircraft powered by the sun, circled the globe without using fuel. The trip was completed in 17 separate legs. And in 2018, an unmanned solar-powered aircraft from European aerospace giant Airbus completed a maiden flight lasting 25 days, 23 hours, and 57 minutes.
“It’s obvious to everyone that electrification — ‘Magnification,’ I like that — is the future, because the systems we have today for flight, for flying jet engines and systems like that, are just not sustainable,” AeroTEC CEO Lee Human said. “It’s there because there’s no choice. Well, today we have another choice.”
More about electric plane, Cessna caravan, MagniX, AeroTEC, cummuter plane
 
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