This week, a prototype electric passenger plane took to the skies for the first time, silently taking off with nine passengers from Grant County International Airport in Washington state for a brief flight.
The Alice aircraft was designed by the aviation engineering firm Eviation, based near Washington. It can travel at a high speed of 481 kilometers per hour (298 miles per hour) while emitting no carbon dioxide thanks to two Magni650 electric propulsion units. Additionally, it is far quieter and less expensive to operate than a traditional aircraft because there are no jet engines or fossil fuels.
The all-electric aircraft took off for its first flight at 7:10 a.m. local time on Tuesday, flying for 8 minutes at a height of 1,066 meters (3,500 feet) before returning to the Grant County airfield.
Remember that most commercial airplanes travel at a height between 10,058 and 12,801 meters, which is far lower than that (33,000 and 42,000 feet).
According to Eviation, the flight was conducted to gather “important data” that will aid in the optimization of the aircraft for use in commercial production. Even though there is still a long way to go before all-electric aircraft start flying passengers to their vacation locations, advances are being made in that direction.
Gregory Davis, President and CEO of Eviation, said in a statement, “Today we launch on the next era of aviation – we have successfully electrified the sky with the unforgettable first flight of Alice.”
For the first time ever, people can see and hear what an all-electric, fixed-wing aircraft looks and sounds like when it is affordable, clean, and sustainable. This groundbreaking accomplishment will drive innovation in environmentally friendly air travel and influence future passenger and cargo travel.
The demand for all-electric aircraft is obvious given how significant air travel is in today’s globalized society. About 2.5% of the world’s carbon emissions come from aviation.
The release of other gases and the creation of water vapor trails in the sky are two of the more intricate ways it affects climate change, though. Flying thus contributes to about 5% of the planet’s warming that is caused by humans.
Although there have been some improvements in electric plane technology recently, the sector hasn’t exactly taken off. But Eviation thinks the market has finally come.
125 Alice aircraft have already been bought by two US small airlines, and DHL Express has also placed an order for 12 Alice cargo aircraft.
“The first flight of Alice supports our conviction that the era of environmentally friendly aircraft has arrived. We are making investments toward our ultimate aim of zero-emissions logistics with our order of 12 Alice e-cargo aircraft, according to Geoff Kehr, Senior Vice President of Global Air Fleet Management at DHL Express.
“Alice is the real game-changer since it makes it possible to fly great distances for the first time without producing any emissions. This historic flight represents a crucial turning point on our path toward 2050’s goal of net-zero emissions.