Known for being a major aircraft test center, Moses Lake, Washington, has a new temporary “resident”. It is the prototype of the Alice electric plane, which is designed by the Israeli startup Eviation Aircraft.
According to Air Current, recently, the Alice was transferred by land from Arlington airport, where it was undergoing ground tests, to the new test site, where the manufacturer says that the maiden flight of the aircraft will be carried out, although it has not yet informed a date.
Initially, Eviation planned to fly Alice from its new headquarters in Seattle, North Washington, but after completing ground tests, decided to relocate the aircraft to the Moses Lake center, where Boeing conducts several tests certification of its aircraft and which was also used by Mitsubishi Aircraft for the SpaceJet program.
Now based at Grand County International Airport, which has a nearly 4km-long runway (and which in the past served as an alternate landing site for NASA’s Space Shuttles), Alice will have a vast airspace dedicated to flight testing.
Eviation is racing against time to make the maiden flight of its electric plane, which has already been postponed twice. Initially, the company had planned the first sortie of the aircraft for the second quarter of 2021 and then rescheduled the test to the fourth quarter of last year, a deadline that was also missed.
Plane of the future
The Eviation Alice is a strong candidate to be the world’s first electric passenger aircraft designed from a blank sheet, unlike other initiatives that consist of converting aircraft with conventional engines.
Alice is an electric twin engine with a composite fuselage designed to carry nine passengers, in addition to two pilots. According to the manufacturer, the plane will have a range of up to 815 km at a cruising speed of 463 kph. The company also plans to build a freighter version of the aircraft, the Alice eCargo, with a capacity of around 1,000 kg of cargo.
The first company to order the Alice was Cape Air, a traditional US regional airline that signed a letter of intent to purchase up to 75 copies. The Israeli electric plane has also received orders from Deutsche Post (German Post) and freight carrier DHL. The first deliveries are scheduled for mid-2024.