The future of aviation is looking a little greener today, with a nine-seat Cessna aircraft fitted out with an all electric propulsion system successfully completing its first flight. This maiden voyage for the world’s largest electric aircraft marks another step forward for a nascent industry out to shake up the world of air travel, which could one day look a lot cleaner and cost effective than it does now.
This landmark flight was the product of a partnership between aerospace firm AeroTEC and electric propulsion company magniX, whose 750-horsepower (560 kW) magni500 propulsion system powered a modified six-seat seaplane through its first flight last December, with airline Harbour Air.
That marked the first successful flight of an all-electric commercial aircraft, but the team at magniX had slightly bigger fish to fry. The company had also teamed up with AeroTEC to convert a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan from a jet-fuel burning nine-seater to an all-electric, zero-local-emissions, low-cost aircraft. And today they allowed it to strut its stuff for the first time.
The maiden voyage took place at AeroTEC’s test facility in Moses Lake, Washington, where the so-called “eCaravan” – which has a 16 m (52 ft) wingspan – took to the air for around 30 minutes to become the largest all-electric aircraft to ever take flight.