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Old 12-08-2019, 12:32 AM   #1
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First Commercial Electric Airplane set to fly

Harbour Air is a smaller airline in British Columbia servicing many smaller locations but some popular ones as well, Nanaimo for example. This coming Wednesday December 11/2019 the first electric aircraft will take to the air. The aircraft is a converted Beaver, in itself an historical craft. This flight will be the first commercial endeavor in the air industry in the world.

The reason I post this in a trawler forum is that I know many are following electrical propulsion trends in boating and most likely other areas as well. Initially the Beaver will only be allowed to fly in non-rainy weather but I suspect this requirement will soon be lifted. Harbour Air has announced that eventually it wants to go electric on all the aircraft.

https://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/...-electric.html
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Old 12-08-2019, 06:02 AM   #2
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For short runs, it can make sense for both air and water travel. But that is it, presently. Just not enough energy stored in the battery to make longer trips.
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Old 12-08-2019, 11:57 AM   #3
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The key would be longevity and weight of the batteries.
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Old 12-08-2019, 12:06 PM   #4
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Yes, as long is this is kept being pushed, better and more suitable batteries will be sorted out.
We are already seeing many improvements. Not only better batteries but the cost keeps dropping as the whole system develops from mfg. to the use point.
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Old 12-08-2019, 01:17 PM   #5
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Batteries generally don’t like cold. It’s very cold at high altitudes
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Old 12-08-2019, 09:31 PM   #6
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Sorry about the thread drift, but read this article in the Sunday paper.
Volvo Penta electric prototype.
It mentions lithium-ion power packs - more power and torque at low speeds compared to similar diesel engine. Potential for up to four hours or 20 nautical miles zero-emission cruising.
My ignorant question is after 4 hours then what?
call Greta for a tow home ?
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Old 12-08-2019, 10:33 PM   #7
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We met this couple at Montague. The boat is solar powered, with a golf cart motor and batteries. About a 5 hour range on a sunny day before needing a full recharge.

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Old 12-09-2019, 12:08 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arc View Post
Batteries generally don’t like cold. It’s very cold at high altitudes
DHC-3s don't fly that high. Some of the battery power can be used in heaters to keep the battery warm, like in Tesla cars.

Even if they have successful test flights, it'll be a few years before they can operate them commercially.
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Old 12-09-2019, 06:17 AM   #9
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"My ignorant question is after 4 hours then what?"


In the photo it seems to have sails!
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Old 12-09-2019, 09:10 AM   #10
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Its a great start. Battery inventions will be coming, and its time to get the airframes redesigned to accommodate such a large change in design features. Charge ports, a large liquid reservoir conversion to fixed batteries, electronic controls and monitors, weight and balance changes, much different safety protocols, crash worthiness, EMC with close-by radios and high current source emitters and much more. These all need to be done concurrently with energy density improvements.
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Old 12-09-2019, 09:22 AM   #11
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Along with a environmental way to produce and dispose of silicon and lithium.
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Old 12-09-2019, 09:46 AM   #12
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I think it's important to mention that this amazing innovation is brought to you by Capitalism and not Socialism. Also you and I were not forced to pay for this innovation in our taxes, free markets at play.
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Old 12-09-2019, 10:23 AM   #13
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Electric airplanes are a very long ways away. 1-2 person light sport planes are already flying. But anything that’ll be able do do more than fly around the pattern...many years.
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Old 12-09-2019, 10:43 AM   #14
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Kudos to HA. Their experience will prove a valuable stalking horse. There are more than a few buts though -

At some point economics enters the decision making process. Using the automobile business as a guide, will the governments pony up six or seven figures as a rebate for a new plane? Saving the planet from float plane exhaust is with more than a few skeptics, especially if real world costs and impacts are utilized.

The success and failure of the float plane commercial business is based upon revenue and costs. Quick turnarounds are essential. The current status of the best battery recharging setups would result in inordinate shut down time as compared to existing gas and go situations.

The airframe re-design, certifications and necessary ground location changes will not be cheap. Remembering of course, float planes fly to where there are no ground facilities. Then the capital cost. Combined with considerable ground time losses, to move from the "neat idea" one off to viable overall fleet category will be an interesting watch.

For those with Southwest Airline history, the revolution they started was quick turnarounds, single plane fleets, great ground maintenance and thereby lower fares.

Too bad Marin, a true float plane expert, isn't here to add some brevity and additional discourse.
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Old 12-09-2019, 11:53 AM   #15
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One category of electric aircraft that is commercially viable is auxiliary powered sailplanes. In the past these have used small internal combustion engines, usually a one or two cylinder two stroke or a Wankel. Recently there have been a number introduced using electric motors with LiIon batteries. The more powerful ones are "self launch", that is they can take off on their own power. Most are "sustainers", that is they can maintain altitude and climb slowly if caught with no thermal lift to continue the flight. Sailplanes are super efficient and require very little power to fly (15 hp enough to sustain, 30 enough to launch). Even so, the best of these will only run about 10 minutes at full power climb. They also use Lithium polymer or lithium Cobalt batteries, much higher power density than the LiFePo4 that we use in boats, but also a much higher danger of thermal runaway and fire. One version has already been recalled due to three battery fires. A high profile experimental electric plane in Europe (a converted Extra) caught fire and burned in flight with loss of crew.

While it's great that HA is experimenting with this, a breakthrough in battery tech will be required before it is commercially viable and acceptable to regulators. Even with the best LiPo batteries, the energy density is less than 1/10 of Avgas. It needs and order of magnitude increase.
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Old 12-09-2019, 12:24 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nocanvas View Post
I think it's important to mention that this amazing innovation is brought to you by Capitalism and not Socialism. Also you and I were not forced to pay for this innovation in our taxes, free markets at play.
I bet somewhere along the line battery, electric motor, exotic materials development, or other associated technology has been paid for in part by your taxes.

Certainly, the rules and regulations they must comply with as well as approvals and inspections are paid for by taxes.
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Old 12-09-2019, 01:06 PM   #17
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At some point there will be a hard wall as to how much electrical energy can be stored in a battery. We may be close to that now. I'm not expecting an order of magnitude improvement in batt capacity. Would be thrilled if we did, but not expecting it.
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Old 12-09-2019, 01:13 PM   #18
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I'm sure some university researcher using a government grant will crack it someday. Might even get a Nobel for it.
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Old 12-09-2019, 01:28 PM   #19
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The flights will be short, I don't think Seattle will be serviced. So flights to and from Vancouver and Vancouver Island. The flight to Nanaimo may be 20 minutes and that probably includes ground time.
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Old 12-09-2019, 08:15 PM   #20
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I bet somewhere along the line battery, electric motor, exotic materials development, or other associated technology has been paid for in part by your taxes.



Certainly, the rules and regulations they must comply with as well as approvals and inspections are paid for by taxes.


Agreed. An empty assertion that this was developed solely by unaided capitalism. And besides that, I thought we didnít do politics here.
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