Harbour Air and magniX Partner to Build World’s First All-Electric Airline

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Aviation Leaders Set to Transform Seaplanes into ePlanes — a Zero-emission Aircraft for the Future

REDMOND, WA and VANCOUVER, B.C. – March 26, 2019 – magniX, the company powering the electric aviation revolution, and Harbour Air, North America’s largest seaplane airline, today announced a partnership to transform Harbour Air seaplanes into an all-electric commercial fleet powered by the magni500, a 750 horsepower (HP) all-electric motor.

Operating 12 routes between hubs like Seattle and Vancouver and across the pristine natural wilderness of the Pacific Northwest, Harbour Air welcomes more than 500,000 passengers on 30,000 commercial flights each year. Through this partnership, both companies are furthering the vision to someday connect communities with clean, efficient and affordable electric air travel.

“Harbour Air first demonstrated its commitment to sustainability by becoming the first fully carbon-neutral airline in North America in 2007, through the purchase of carbon offsets,” said Greg McDougall, founder and CEO of Harbour Air Seaplanes. “Through our commitment to making a positive impact on people’s lives, the communities where we operate and the environment, we are once again pushing the boundaries of aviation by becoming the first commercial aircraft to be powered by electric propulsion. We are excited to bring commercial electric aviation to the Pacific Northwest, turning our seaplanes into ePlanes.”

The aviation industry currently contributes 12 percent of all U.S. carbon emissions and 4.9 percent globally, all while providing few low-cost, fuel-efficient options for passenger flights under 1,000 miles. By modifying existing Harbour Air planes with innovative, all-electric magniX propulsion systems, the partnership will create the world’s first completely electric commercial seaplane fleet. A Harbour Air ePlane will have zero reliance on fossil fuels and produce zero emissions – a significant step forward in the innovation and advancement of the airline industry.

“In 2018, 75 percent of worldwide airline flights were 1,000 miles or less in range. With magniX’s new propulsion systems coupled with emerging battery capabilities, we see tremendous potential for electric aviation to transform this heavily trafficked ‘middle mile’ range,” said Roei Ganzarski, CEO of magniX. “We’re excited to partner with Harbour Air, a forward thinking, like-minded company that is dedicated to bringing environmentally conscious, cost effective air-transport solutions to the West Coast of North America. This partnership will set the standard for the future of commercial aviation operators.”

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The first aircraft to be converted will be the DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver, a six-passenger commercial aircraft used across Harbour Air’s route network. Harbour Air and magniX expect to conduct first flight tests of the all-electric aircraft in late 2019.

This partnership follows significant milestones for both companies, including the successful testing of magniX’s 350 HP all-electric motor and the addition of a Vancouver to Seattle route in Harbour Air’s destination roster.

Source: Harbour Air

Zunum and Safran Join Forces to Deliver Hybrid-to-Electric Aircraft Dramatically reduced operating costs expected

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Seattle, October 04, 2018:  Zunum Aero, a pioneer in electric aviation, selected Safran Helicopter Engines (Bordes, France) for its hybrid-to-electric commercial aircraft, which will be available in the early 2020s. Safran Helicopter Engines will provide a new generation engine turbine to drive the Zunum ZA10’s electrical generator. This turbo-generator will power this 12-seat, hybrid-to-electric 700-mile commercial aircraft, driving extraordinarily low operating costs and offering unprecedented door-to-door travel times that are 2 to 4 times faster than today. Zunum expects to light up thirty thousand airports around the world with frequent and affordable air service.

In October 2017, Zunum revealed first details on its all new hybrid-to-electric aircraft family. These aircraft are designed to address a vast gap in transport infrastructure over regional ranges up to 1,000 miles, offering quiet, green and fast door-to-door service to tens of thousands of secondary airports around the world.

The Zunum aircraft under development, internally dubbed the ZA10, is the first in the company’s family of regional, hybrid-to-electric aircraft. It will be powered by dual power sources: propulsion batteries, and a Safran turboshaft engine from the 1,700 to 2,000 shaft horsepower (shp) Ardiden range. Safran is the world’s leading manufacturer of helicopter engines, with more than 72,000 produced since being founded. The manufacturer offers the widest range of helicopter turboshaft engines  in the world and has more than 2,500 customers in 155 countries.

This new model, the Ardiden 3Z, will be used as a hybrid power source achieving demanding cost, efficiency and uptime requirements. It will be coupled with an electric generator, and the integrated turbo-generator will deliver 500kW of electric power to supplement the battery packs on key stages of flight and over long ranges. Upgrades such as advanced materials and integrated lifecycle management for hybrid service will dramatically reduce operating costs of the engine by extending the life of critical components.

The new aircraft will deliver breakthrough operating costs of 8 cents per available seat mile or $250 per hour for the aircraft, which is 60-80 percent lower than comparable conventional aircraft of comparable size. The ZA10 aircraft is designed to cruise and land on turbo-generator power alone, offering full redundancy.

Zunum’s selection of Safran is a critical step towards realizing the delivery of an economical, efficient hybrid-to-electric aircraft by the early 2020s. Because a key element of the MW-class hybrid-to-electric powertrain is a 500kW capable gas turbine that is compact, lightweight and highly efficient, to complement the propulsion batteries onboard, Safran’s proven expertise made the partnership a natural decision.

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Revival of regional aviation

“Today marks a significant milestone on the path to delivery of the ZA10,” said Matt Knapp, co-founder and CTO of Zunum Aero. “The Zunum ZA10 aircraft will bring breakthrough performance to regional aviation, paving the way to fast, electrified, affordable high-speed air services to communities everywhere.”

Florent Chauvancy, Safran Helicopter Engines EVP OEM Sales, added: “The Ardiden 3Z represents a very powerful complement to the ZA10 because of its exceptional performance, along with low operating and maintenance costs. This announcement marks a new step forward in demonstrating Safran ability to offer hybrid propulsive solutions for tomorrow’s mobility solutions.”

Near-term milestones include ground and flight testing scheduled for 2019, as well delivery of the ZA10 aircraft targeted for the early 2020s.

 

Rockwell Turbo Commander 840 to be used as testbed

Zunum selected a Rockwell Turbo Commander 840 to modify for the flying testbed aircraft. The Rockwell Turbo Commander 840 has similar weight and performance to the ZA10, as well as excellent single-engine capability, enabling Zunum to modify and test in phases for a high-degree of safety.

In preparation for flight in 2019, Zunum Aero conducted ground tests of the hybrid-electric power system at Chicago-area facilities earlier this year. Through Q4 2018 and early 2019, the power system will continue to be upgraded and tested in stages to advance it for flight. Meanwhile, the Ardiden 3Z engine will undergo ground tests in France and US, ahead of integration with the flying testbed in 2019.

Modifications of the test aircraft began on schedule for a series of flights in the back half of 2019 leading to full hybrid-to-electric conversion with the Safran engine. The flying testbed will continue to be upgraded with successive prototypes until start of certification in 2020-21.

Founded in 2013, Zunum Aero is funded by Boeing HorizonX, JetBlue Technology Ventures and the State of Washington Clean Energy Fund. For more information visit http://www.zunum.aero or http://www.safran-helicopter-engines.com .

Source: Zunum Aero