The aviation industry has been trying to make way for sustainable electric aircraft for quite some time. In a remarkable turn of events, MagniX, the company which is a pioneer in the field of electric aviation, and AeroTEC, a leading company focused on aerospace engineering, announced the successful flight of an all-electric Cessna Grand Caravan 208B on May 29, 2020.
The successful flight of the Cessna, powered by a 750-horsepower magni500 propulsion system, took place at the AeroTEC Flight Test Center at the Grant County International Airport (KMWH) in Moses Lake, Washington. As the world’s largest all-electric commercial aircraft, this is indeed a huge milestone in disrupting the commercial aviation transportation industry.
Roei Ganzarski, Chief Executive of magniX stated:
‘The iconic Caravan had been a workhorse of industry moving people and transporting goods on short routes for decades. The first flight of the eCaravan was yet another step on the road to operating those middle-mile aircraft at a fraction of the cost, with zero emissions, from and to smaller airports.’
The eCaravan that completely the much anticipated flight was powered not by the traditional Pratt and Whitney PT6A system, but from Magnix’s Magni500, a 750hp all-electric propulsion system. While MagniX put togerther the e-propulsion system, AeroTEC integrated it with the Cessna’s current avionics. For now, the Magni500-powered eCaravan can ferry 5 passengers up to 100 miles. While this does not sound like a lot, the successful flight of this aircraft serves as a huge achievement in the way for the certification and approval process of the magni500 propulsion system, thereby, enabling future conversions of Cessna aircraft to magniX’s electric propulsion technology. The companies shall be experimenting with versions of the aircraft able to ferry passengers for as long as 500 miles in months to come.
AeroTEC Chief Executive, Lee Human stated in a report:
‘Magnix and AeroTEC are pitching Magni500-powered Caravans as perfect for operating routes less than 500 miles that connect cities within region’
For now, the authorities have not released the cost of converting a traditional Cessna 208B to the an all-electric version. While various e-propulsion systems are currently under development and research globally, this is one of the very first successful attempt to prove its feasibility.
As they say, one step at a time.