A 62-year-old seaplane was transformed into the
world’s first fully electric commercial aircraft. The debut flight took place
earlier this month over Vancouver. This modified six-seater DHC-2 de Havilland
Beaver took off from the Fraser River at Harbour Air Seaplanes terminal in
Richmond, British Columbia, just south of the international airport.
Greg McDougall, CEO and founder of Harbour Air
Seaplanes, was at the helm taking the electric commercial aircraft on a 15-minute
flight. The 750-horsepower magni500 propulsion system was developed by
Australian electric motor manufacturer, magniX.
With growing concerns around global warming and the
increased usage of sustainable energy resources, hybrid aircraft could play a
bigger role in the future. The aerospace sector has undoubtedly made impressive
strides since the 1950s in terms of increased power and efficiency of engines.
However, more recent studies indicate that engine technology could reach
This means a more reasonable investment in the amount
of energy we can extract from carbon-based fuel. More air travel and more
aircraft in the sky will lead to increased fuel consumption and greenhouse gas
emissions unless we find a suitable fossil fuel substitute.
A new flying car has been unveiled in Japan by NEC
Corp. While it is essentially a drone with four propellers, the company says it
will be capable of carrying people. Even though the prototype only hovered for a
minute, it did fly and marks another impressive development in the hotly
debated area of future transport.
Over the last few years in Japan, a number of small,
passionate flying car communities have emerged. They believe that Japan has the
engineering knowledge and the right environment to succeed (and lead) a global
flying car industry. Venture capitalists in Japan have set up a fund called the
‘Drone Fund’ which is purely for investing purposes into autonomous aircraft and
flying car companies.
Animals have long-inspired innovative engineering designs
as they’ve evolved perfectly, as nature intended. This provides the ideal
solution to environmental challenges, something European manufacturer, Airbus, hopes
to achieve as they revealed a brand new concept hybrid-electric aircraft.
Liam Fox, UK Secretary of State for International
Trade, unveiled the “Bird of Prey” concept at the Royal International
Air Tattoo air show last month. At first glance, it is evident that this new
hybrid-electric aircraft got its inspiration eagles, hawks and other aerial
predators. Airbus revealed this new concept aircraft with the intention of
inspiring the next-generation of aeronautical engineers.
Aviation connects the world by continuously transporting
people and goods across the globe in no time at all. While it may appear
efficient, climate change has become a clear topic of debate in society due to
a concern over plane emissions.
Large manufacturers in aerospace and aviation are investing
more in sustainability as emission targets are increasing. A bold move by Rolls-Royce
buying the electric aerospace arm of Siemens clearly shows this intent. In
fact, this acquisition could speed up electrification in the aviation sector.