· Invalid Media
Awesome stuff, and in my back yard too. What the article doesn't mention is that the test flight was done by the company's CEO - now there's someone who believes in leadership.
Before people start, a few obvious points:
- Yes, the range is limited, but Harbour Air typically only flies routes <70nmi, which are within the range of this plane (with adequate margin)
- Yes, this would not work for longer routes
- Yes, it's only carbon neutral if you generate the power in a renewable manner, which in BC we do (~95 renewable)
- Yes, they still have to prove reliability
...proud to say that this took place in my front yard, so to speak (even if the reported flight was in Richmond, not actually Vancouver proper). While there have been other electric plane demos before (US, Europe) and even recently an electric passenger-carrying drone (Volocopter), this apparently is the first application for sea planes.
I have taken Harbour Air plenty of times and pass by their downtown Vancouver terminal every day; these are short-haul flights mostly over water in sturdy STOL type planes (that ol' venerable DH Beaver), which aides with safety and emergency situations. That in turn makes it an ideal vehicle to get licensed for electric propulsion and push technologies further via daily use for other aviation applications down the line. As others have observed, energy density is still a big issue concerning even relatively recent battery designs when it gets to longer-haul, higher altitude - but we need Harbour Air type applications to move this technology forward on a commercial scale.
Finally, folks in downtown Vancouver might appreciate a reduction in noise, propeller sound not withstanding Ditto for reduced emissions in an area that already deals with large freight, container and cruise ships and the supporting infrastructure.