One of the pioneers of battery-powered aviation is joining a Pacific Northwest team that’s aiming to get an all-electric seaplane certified for service in Canada.
H55, the Swiss battery venture co-founded by Solar Impulse pilot André Borschberg, is partnering with Vancouver, B.C.-based Harbour Air Seaplanes and Everett, Wash.-based MagniX on their project to convert De Havilland Beaver commuter airplanes to all-electric power.
Harbour Air is providing the Beaver, MagniX is providing the electric propulsion system, and now H55 will provide its advanced battery modules to power the plane.
MagniX and Harbour Air have been putting a prototype eBeaver through flight tests since December 2019 to gather data on such parameters as cruise performance, takeoff thrust efficiency, electromagnetic interference and noise levels. The team is working with Transport Canada on a supplemental type certificate program to clear converted all-electric planes for commercial operations by as early as next year.
Eventually, Harbour Air plans to transform all of its seaplanes into an all-electric fleet. The company provides commuter air service to a locations along British Columbia’s coast, plus “nerd bird” flights between Vancouver and Seattle.
H55 was founded to continue the vision of Solar Impulse 2, which Borschberg and fellow adventurer Bertrand Piccard piloted around the world on a historic solar-powered trip in 2015-2016.