MagniX Sees Regional Operators as Electric Aviation Pioneers

MagniX eCaravan
Electric propulsion specialist MagniX says it is close to signing up a launch customer and STC partner for its eCaravan re-engining program. (Photo: MagniX)

MagniX has reported further progress with flight testing of its proposed electric versions of the Cessna Caravan and DHC-2 Beaver utility aircraft. The company told AIN it is on track to achieve FAA Part 33 certification for the battery-powered propulsion systems by late 2021 or early 2022 and that supplemental type certificates (STCs) could be in place for both programs in time for aircraft to enter commercial service by the end of 2022. At the same time, MagniX is continuing to work with its sister company Eviation Aircraft to provide the electric motors for the new Alice fixed-wing aircraft.

Following a fire during ground testing and delays due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, the first prototype of the aircraft is now expected to make an initial flight in early 2021, according to MagniX CEO Roei Ganzarski. U.S.-based MagniX is focusing its efforts on providing electric propulsion for new and existing fixed-wing aircraft that could fly sectors of between 50 and 1,000 miles.

For now, Ganzarski explained, it is not seeking to provide propulsion for new eVTOL aircraft because it doesn’t see the strong commercial case for scaling down its Magni250 and -500 motors, which currently offer continuous power of 280 and 560 kW, respectively. Many eVTOL aircraft designs require multiple electric motors, each with power of around 40 or 50 kW. On May 28, MagniX and its partner AeroTec achieved a first flight with the eCaravan prototype, which is a modified version of the Cessna 208B Grand Caravan powered by the Magni500.

Flight testing has continued at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington, and Ganzarski said that it has since become the first electric aircraft of its type to fly at an altitude of 8,000 feet. This has allowed engineers to evaluate how the electrical components perform in an unpressurized environment. Each flight test has lasted a minimum of 30 minutes, with distances flown gradually being increased by unspecified amounts. The development team has been experimenting with various rates of climb and descent and also with varying power levels.


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