Home News First Electric Plane Test Successful: Green Aviation, Low Fares In Sight

First Electric Plane Test Successful: Green Aviation, Low Fares In Sight

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The World Environment Day on June 5 cannot have a better milestone than the successful test flight of the world’s largest all-electric plane that happened on May 27.

The even holds a big promise of emission-free greener aviation and consumer benefits in terms of lower airfares. On May 27, the nine-seater Cessna Caravan took off for a half-hour journey and covered 160km over Moses Lake, Washington. The plane was powered by an electric motor made by Seattle-based Magnix.

The Cessna Grand Caravan plane is the most used medium-range aircraft. The 37-foot Caravan airliner has the capacity to carry nine passengers. During the test flight, it used only less than $6 worth of electricity compared to $400 worth of fuel the Cessna Caravan consumes with the conventional combustion engine.

For the test flight, MagniX retrofitted the plane with a 750-horsepower zero-emissions motor.

Magix CEO Roei Ganzarski is excited and said his electric planes would contribute a healthier world and is a bid to connect communities with zero emissions.

According to aviation sources, the solo test pilot took off at 08.02 PST and flew over Moses Lake and landed at 08.32 PST.

After take-off, the electric plane zoomed to 2,500 feet and descended to 1,000 feet and spent most of the time cruising over the large airport area in Washington. It made little noise and noise pollution was also minimal.

Cost advantage and freedom from emissions

The test flight has cheered environmentalists. Airlines had been facing flak for contributing to global pollution.

According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the aviation industry is responsible for significant pollution and is accountable for “around 16,000 premature deaths a year from impaired air quality.”

Airplanes also emit a heavy amount of toxic hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, lead, nitrogen oxides, and black carbon.

The test flight demonstrated that the huge savings from all-electric planes can translate into reduced ticket prices and help airlines expand to new routes and airports not served by the airline giants.

Smiling air passengers entering to the airport. They are pushing the cart with baggage

Noting that the niche market is bound to grow, CEO Ganzarski said he would expect regulator FAA’s certification by 2021 for commercial flights. MagniX is also working to develop a 1,500-horsepower engine.

In the test flight, MagniX used lithium-ion batteries to fly the aircraft. Ganzarski is confident that advances in lithium-sulfur and hydrogen fuel-cell batteries will expand passenger capacities to 20 and beyond.

Innovative aviation fuel coming

Meanwhile, a Swiss start-up is developing an aviation fuel with water, solar energy, and carbon dioxide. According to reports, Synhelion founded by researchers at the federal technology institute ETH Zurich in association with Climeworks signed up with the Lufthansa Group to launch the sustainable aviation fuel.

According to Gianluca Ambrosetti, CEO of Synhelion, the mission is to create a zero-emission fuel by 2030. It will balance the carbon dioxide released during the combustion of the fuel with the carbon dioxide captured in the atmosphere during its production.

Meanwhile, in addition to Magnix many other players are also pursuing electric aviation technology and they include Embraer, Lilium, Pipistrel, and Ampaire.

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