The first electric aircraft ready for commercial flights

It may not be an event of such a rank as the first flight of the Wright brothers, but it is definitely worth mentioning. The Canadian airline Harbor Air presented its first commercial electric seaplane.

In my opinion, the practicality of this idea deserves the greatest recognition. Instead of creating a wheel again, the Canadian carrier decided to modify the good old DHC-2 Beaver – a structure that was created in 1947.

An electric plane makes a lot of sense. As far as short local routes are concerned.

This seaplane was designed by the Polish engineer Vsevolod Yakimuk. Very interesting character – Jakimiuk had his share among others in the creation of a machine gun control mechanism by a pilot and he had a hand in designing Concorde. Let’s return to the electric Beaver.

Greg McDougall, founder and CEO of Harbor Air, explained the choice of DHC-2 in a very simple way. It’s a low-cost and reliable aircraft that is also well-known by Canadian aircraft mechanics. The only novelty is the electric motor itself.

Electrifying a small fleet of Canadian seaplanes can be seen as a symbolic gesture when it comes to emissions from the aviation sector. Large passenger aircraft, which support long-distance routes, are responsible for the largest part of harmful substances emitted to our atmosphere.

The electrification of these giants is currently impossible for a very simple reason – so far there are no cells that would be able to provide the right amount of energy needed to overcome such a distance. Ie. they exist, but they cannot be reasonably mounted on board a passenger plane and count on it to fly into the air.

Hopefully, however, the time will come. For now, we can only support smaller, local carriers, serving much shorter routes, who decide to electrify their fleet. You have to start somewhere.