Vancouver, Canada, is soon to be the site of some very exciting developments in aeronautical technology. On December 11, Harbour Air is scheduled to test the world’s first fully electric commercial aircraft. The seaplane, a DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver that can hold six passengers, was retrofitted with a magniX electric motor, and will be flown for the first time by Greg McDougall, the company’s CEO.
“I’ll be the only one aboard it,” said McDougall to Global News. “The flight permit actually includes one test pilot and that’s it.”
McDougall created Harbour Air in 1982 and the all-seaplane airline, located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, has always been ahead of its time. In 2007, it became the first fully carbon-neutral airline in North America.
Harbour Air operates mostly short-distance flights, which is perfect for the current battery technology. The test flight itself will only be about 10 minutes long. If the test proves successful, Harbour Air wants to start using electric seaplanes for commercial use in two years’ time. The electric seaplanes will also help the company save fuel and limit the cost of plane maintenance.
Weather permitting, Harbour Air’s first electric plane will take off from the YVR South Terminal on December 11, 2019.