Eviation has successfully completed the first flight of its zero-emission Alice aircraft.
Alice lifted off at 7:10 in the morning from Grant County International airport in Moses Lake, Washington and flew for eight minutes at an altitude of 3,500 ft. This trailblazing flight of the technology demonstrator provided Eviation with invaluable data to further optimise the aircraft for commercial production.
"Today we embark on the next era of aviation; we have successfully electrified the skies with the unforgettable first flight of Alice," says president and CEO Gregory Davis. "People now know what affordable, clean and sustainable aviation looks and sounds like for the first time in a fixed wing, all-electric aircraft. This ground-breaking milestone will lead innovation in sustainable air travel and shape both passenger and cargo travel in the future."
Alice produces no carbon emissions, significantly reduces noise and costs a fraction to operate per flight hour compared to light jets or high-end turboprops.
All-electric aircraft will make regional travel more economically and environmentally sustainable for businesses and consumers. This new generation of aircraft has the power to transform communities by providing access to airports not currently used by commercial flights due to noise concerns or restricted operating hours. The Eviation Alice is targeted at commuter and cargo markets, and will typically operate flights ranging from 150 miles to 250 miles.
Two US-based regional airlines, Cape Air and Global Crossing Airlines, have placed orders for 75 and 50 Alice aircraft respectively. DHL Express is Eviation's first cargo customer, with an order of 12 Alice eCargo aircraft. With this engagement DHL aims to establish the first electric express network, leading the way for a new era of zero-emissions air freight.
"The first flight of Alice represents a transformational milestone for the aviation industry," says Cape Air founder and board chairman Dan Wolf. "We currently fly more than 400 regional flights per day, connecting more than 30 cities across the United States and Caribbean. Alice can easily cover 80 per cent of our flight operations, bringing sustainable, emission-free travel to the communities we serve."
"The first flight of Alice confirms our belief that the era of sustainable aviation is here," adds DHL Express senior vice president, global air fleet management Geoff Kehr. "With our order of 12 Alice e-cargo planes, we are investing towards our overall goal of zero-emissions logistics. DHL is the industry leader by introducing new and more sustainable cargo aircraft types to the global market. Alice is the true game-changer by enabling long distance air transport for the first time with zero emissions. This historic flight marks a significant milestone on our journey to ultimately achieving net-zero emissions by 2050."
Alice features a maximum operating speed of 260 knots and a maximum useful load of 2,500 lbs for the passenger version and 2,600 lbs for the eCargo version. The passenger version will be available as a nine passenger commuter and a six passenger executive cabin. All configurations support two crew members. It is powered by two magni650 electric propulsion units from magniX, the only flight-proven electric propulsion systems at this scale. Other key suppliers include AVL (battery support), GKN (wings), Honeywell (advanced fly-by-wire system, flight controls and avionics), Multiplast (fuselage), Parker Aerospace (six technology systems) and Potez (doors).
The Alice's advanced battery system is highly efficient and endlessly upgradeable enabling range improvements as battery technology evolves. The aircraft also incorporates a fly-by-wire cockpit, providing greater reliability and systems redundancy.