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Harbour Air orders electric motors

Seaplane airline Harbour Air said it signed a letter of intent to purchase 50 magni650 electric motors from magniX, an aviation propulsion company, marking a major step in Harbour Air’s plan to convert its fleet of 45 de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver aircraft to electric power.

Remote cameras mounted on the converted DHC-2 Beaver capture the sucessful take off. Image courtesy of Harbour Air Seaplanes.

Under the agreement magniX, based in Everett, Washington, said it will work with Vancouver, British Columbia-based Harbour toward validation of the magni650 power system’s type certificate with Transport Canada. The companies also will cooperate in the process of acquiring supplemental type certificates in the United States and Canada needed for installation of the motors in the aircraft known as eBeavers. The agreement includes an option for the companies to pursue STCs for additional aircraft types.

“We are excited to accelerate the adoption of electric aviation technology and further our journey towards a sustainable future,” said Harbour Air CEO Bert van der Stege. “The agreement with magniX underscores our commitment to revolutionize commercial aviation with electric propulsion and to pave the way for cleaner, quieter, and more efficient air travel.”

The eBeaver test aircraft made its first flight in December 2019 and has since completed 78 additional test flights to gather data on power output, flight performance, battery management, and other parameters. The airline said it plans to obtain certification of the eBeaver by 2026 and begin to convert the rest of its fleet to electric power. The company said it also plans to offer conversions and related services to other operators in an effort to promote electrified aviation.

“Electrifying Harbour Air’s fleet and future customers with magniX’s engines sets us on a course to define the future of regional flight,” said Riona Armesmith, chief technology officer of magniX. “The many flights that the eBeaver has now completed with magniX’s technology are a signal that the electric age of aviation is here and bringing it to the marketplace is growing rapidly closer.”

The government of British Columbia has also voiced support for Harbour Air’s electrification program. Rob Fleming, the province’s minister of transportation and infrastructure, said, “Harbour Air’s commitment to electrifying its fleet aligns with our province’s goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote sustainable transportation options.”

Harbour Air’s international seaplane service began in 1982 with two aircraft. Today the company offers up to 300 scheduled flights daily, along with tours, adventure packages, and private flights. The airline’s 12 scheduled destinations connect downtown Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Tofino, Whistler, Vancouver Airport/Richmond, Sechelt, Salt Spring Island, Powell River, and Comox, British Columbia, as well as Seattle. Harbour Air said it transports about 500,000 passengers annually.

Jonathan Welsh
Jonathan Welsh
Digital Media Content Producer
Jonathan Welsh is a private pilot, career journalist and lifelong aviation enthusiast who previously worked as a writer and editor with Flying Magazine and the Wall Street Journal.
Topics: Technology, Electric

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