Electric Beaver May Fly By Year’s End
Russ NilesNovember 3, 20192
A Canadian seaplane airline expects to flight test an electrically
powered De Havilland Beaver before the end of the year with an eye to
flying passengers in 2022. As we reported earlier this year <https://www.avweb.com/ownership/seaplane-airline-going-all-electric/>,
Harbour Air, which flies about 40 floatplanes to islands and coastal communities on the west coast of British Columbia, announced it
intended to eventually convert its full fleet to electric power.
Immediately after the announcement, the airline started installing a
540-kW MagniX electric motor in the Beaver, a 60-year-old bush plane
that originally had a radial engine. “Currently, we are on track for
the first test flight to take place before the end of the year,” said
company founder and CEO Greg McDougall.
If McDougall is correct, his could become the first to fly passengers electrically and the first all-electric aircraft. Harbour Air’s unique operating circumstances make that all possible. Most flights are less
than an hour and the aircraft are almost always over water, making
emergency landing sites readily available. But McDougall, a passionate proponent of electric power, said the new propulsion system should
make that even less likely. “Electric motors are extremely reliable.
They don’t have the same number of moving parts as a turbine or piston
engine and they have much better durability,” he said in a statement