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Still Waters

World's largest electric plane takes flight

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Still Waters

The next step in electric flight took place on Thursday morning, May 28, with the first flight of a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan powered by a magniX electric propulsion system.

The Caravan was converted by AeroTEC, a company well known for aircraft modification, engineering, and airframe integration.

What is now the world’s largest all-electric commercial aircraft had a flawless half-hour test flight after lifting off at 8 a.m. local time from Central Washington’s Moses Lake Airport.


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I doubt it is an operational commercial aircraft in the sense that it is for hire and competing with conventional aircraft for business. There is no doubt this is a great achievement and we are on the cusp of a revolution with the development of viable electrically-powered aircraft. The problem is the battery technology and the range of such planes. As the article quoted states, the energy-density is too low at the moment to make a truly viable craft. The test flight lasted 30 mins and much of the potential payload capacity of the plane is occupied by the batteries themselves. Currently aviation fuels provide over 35 times the energy of a battery of the same mass. To compete with conventional commercial aircraft the electric-powered plane must reduce its costs per kilogramme of payload per kilometre flown. We are a long way off that yet despite the guarded optimism of the plane's developers.    

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