Electric propulsion system designer MagniX and engineering, testing and certification firm AeroTEC conducted the first flight of an all-electric conventional takeoff and landing (eCTOL) modification to a Cessna Caravan 208B plane on May 28. AeroTEC called the 11-seat eCaravan (shown) the largest commercial electric aircraft to date. The 30-minute flight over AeroTEC’s Moses Lake Flight Test Center in Washington State was a critical step both in the planned certification of MagniX’s 750-hp (560-kW) Magni500 propulsion system and in AeroTEC’s efforts to pioneer processes for electric aircraft certification.
UK-based manufacturer GKN Aerospace said in May it would supply the wings, empennage and electrical wiring interconnection systems for Alice, Eviation’s all-composite MagniX-powered regional eCTOL aircraft. The first prototype was destroyed by an electrical ground fire in January prior to first flight, but more than 200 aircraft have been ordered. Design and manufacturing activities related to the Alice have already begun in Israel and Europe. Singapore-based Clermont Group owns a 70% stake in Eviation and all of MagniX.
Meanwhile, Aurora Flight Sciences founder and former CEO John Langford has founded a new startup, Electra.aero, targeting the urban air mobility (UAM) segment with an electric short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) aircraft. Langford has assembled a team with broad experience on past projects, including “the Daedalus human-powered aircraft, the Perseus high altitude UAV, the Orion long-endurance UAV, the XV-24 LightningStrike UAV, the D8, the PC-12, the PC-24, the Eclipse 500, and many others.” (Sources: AeroTEC press release, AIN Publications, Electra.aero)