Blade Urban Air Mobility, a technology-powered urban air mobility platform, has entered into an alliance whereby magniX USA will supply its electric propulsion units (EPU) to Lima NY, one of Blade's largest aircraft operating partners, for the conversion of Lima's Blade-branded fleet of amphibious Cessna Caravans to all-electric aircraft starting in early 2023.
Blade is the exclusive platform for Lima flights offered to the public. Key routes include flights between the Blade Aqua Lounge at the East 23rd Street seaplane base in New York City, the eastern end of Long Island, New York, and the Blade Terminal in Nantucket, Massachusetts.
Based on current estimates, the all-electric Caravans will operate emission-free at the same speed as the current generation turbine Caravans, with a significantly reduced noise footprint and lower operating costs.
Lima, d/b/a Fly The Whale, is a US Part 135 air carrier founded in 2008. It operates Cessna Caravan C208EX amphibians, wheeled Cessna Caravan C208EXs and Sikorsky S76C++ helicopters from bases in Farmingdale, New York, and New Haven, Connecticut. In New Haven, Lima has built its own seaplane facility to provide a home for the largest seaplane fleet in the northeast US supported by a team of pilots, mechanics and support personnel. Lima is one of a few air carriers to offer all three modes of air transportation: traditional land, sea, and vertical lift. As part of the alliance, Lima will be the exclusive owner in the northeast US of the STC for the conversion of the Caravan's current generation turbine engine to the magniX EPU.
Blade president Melissa Tomkiel says: “Amphibious seaplane service has always been an essential part of our urban air mobility strategy, given the aircraft's unique ability to access city centres through conveniently located waterways, such as Manhattan's East River, as well as traditional airports. The electrification of our accessible fleet of Blade-branded aircraft, made possible through our alliance with magniX and Lima, one of our key operating partners, will further accelerate our transition to quiet, emission-free flight, allowing us to reduce the environmental and sound impact in and around the communities where we fly.”
MagniX CEO Roei Ganzarski adds: “Partnering with Blade and Lima to bring electric aviation to one of the largest cities and highly populated regions in the United States is an incredible proof point to the value of offering communities zero emissions, reduced noise and lower operating costs. With electric propulsion as our cornerstone, magniX continues to build toward the new electric age of aviation.”
Blade's alliance with magniX and Lima comes on the heels of a recent agreement for Blade to secure up to 20 Beta Technologies' Alia electric vertical aircraft (EVA) on behalf of Blade's network of operators with scheduled delivery beginning in late 2024, and arrangements for Wisk Aero, a joint venture between Boeing and Larry Page-backed Kitty Hawk, to own, operate and maintain up to 30 EVA for exclusive use across Blade's US route network.
The alliance among Blade, magniX and Lima is subject to the FAA's anticipated approval of the STC and the parties entering into further agreements.