Last week, the Alice, a plane manufactured by the Israeli company Eviation, underwent engine testing at Arlington Municipal Airport, north of Seattle.
According to Eviation CEO Omer Bar-Yohay, the Alice’s first flight is just weeks away.
The aircraft’s prototype, which first flew in 2019, has been undergoing low-speed taxi tests since December and will undertake a high-speed taxi test in the coming weeks.
The plane is sent down the runway at various speeds to test its own power and allow ground crews to monitor systems such as steering, braking, and anti-skid.
Despite the company’s stated goal of flying the Alice before 2022, adverse weather conditions in the Pacific Northwest towards the end of the year hampered testing.
The nine-passenger Alice will be able to fly for one hour and 440 nautical miles with battery technology similar to that of an electric car or a cell phone and 30 minutes of charging.
Eviation has created three prototypes: a “commuter” version, an executive version, and a cargo-specific version.
Nine passengers and two pilots, as well as 850 pounds of cargo, are accommodated in the commuter configuration now being tested.
The executive version includes six passenger seats for a more comfortable ride, while the freight plane has a volume of 450 cubic feet.
All of this is feasible while cutting commercial jet maintenance and operating expenses by up to 70%, according to the company.
Both startups and established aviation corporations are already vying for space in the electric aviation market.
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