Electric seaplane completes first point-to-point flight in Canada

Canadian regional company Harbour Air aims to be the first in the world to launch commercial flights with all-electric aircraft

Canada’s small regional airline Harbour Air announced last week that it had conducted the first point-to-point test flight with its all-electric De Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver.

According to the company, the test with the electric seaplane departed from the Fraser River, near Vancouver, and headed to Patricia Bay, in Victoria.

The flight covered a distance of 45 miles in 24 minutes and the aircraft landed with “ample reserve power”, Harbour Air reported. The test route is precisely one of the services provided by the company.

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The company celebrated the milestone as the “first all-electric point-to-point direct test flight” of ePlane, as the converted electric-powered DHC-2 Beaver is called.

The electric seaplane is a project by Harbor Air in partnership with MagniX, a US company that develops electric motors for application in airplanes. The first flight of the modified aircraft took place in December 2019.

“I am excited to report that this historic flight on the ePlane went exactly as planned” said Kory Paul, Harbor Air’s Vice President of Flight Operations. “Our team as well as the team at magniX and Transport Canada are always closely monitoring the aircraft’s performance and today’s flight further proved the safety and reliability of what we have built.”

According to the Canadian company, the ePlane will be certified to carry four passengers and a pilot and will have the capacity to carry out flights of about 30 minutes in duration, with another 30 minutes of reserve energy in the batteries. The commercial debut of the aircraft is expected in 2023.

The ePlane made its maiden flight in 2019 (Harbour Air)

From past to future

The ePlane is powered by the magni500 engine, capable of generating 750 horsepower and emitting no pollutants. As a comparison, the original DHC-2, a design from the 1950s, uses a radial piston engine and has 450 hp.

According to the creators of the project, the electric Beaver’s batteries provide a range of 160 km, which corresponds to the distance of most Harbor Air flights. The company currently serves 18 destinations in the Canadian province of British Columbia.