Eviation completed the first flight of its all-electric Alice aircraft this week. (Photo: Eviation)
Eviation’s all-electric commuter aircraft, Alice, completed its first flight on Sept. 27 at the Grant County International Airport in Washington. The aircraft remained airborne for eight minutes at an altitude of 3,500 feet for its maiden flight—which has occurred seven years after the company was founded and launched its vision for a zero emissions fixed-wing commuter aircraft.
Omer Bar-Yohay co-founded Eviation in 2015 and the company first unveiled its full-sized functional Alice prototype at the 2019 Paris Air Show—the event where Yohay originally wanted to complete the first flight. Several years later, following a number of program delays, a CEO change and a move of its headquarters to Arlington, Washington, Eviation achieved a major milestone in the Alice electric aircraft development program.
Full flight of Alice:
"Today we embark on the next era of aviation – we have successfully electrified the skies with the unforgettable first flight of Alice," Eviation President and CEO Gregory Davis said in a Sept. 27 press release. "People now know what affordable, clean and sustainable aviation looks and sounds like for the first time in a fixed-wing, all-electric aircraft. This ground-breaking milestone will lead innovation in sustainable air travel, and shape both passenger and cargo travel in the future."
Davis, a commercial pilot and engineer, was appointed interim CEO in February and officially took over as chief executive on Sept. 16. He takes on the position after serving as president since May 2021.
Eviation is developing three different variants of Alice, including a nine-passenger commuter, six-passenger executive cabin, and an air cargo version. The aircraft has a maximum operating speed of 260 knots with a maximum useful load of 2,500 lbs for the passenger version and 2,600 lbs for the cargo version.
In the cockpit, Eviation features a fly-by-wire system touchscreens and other avionics technologies from Honeywell Aerospace, including its BendixKing AeroVue touchscreen displays. The Alice technical demonstrator operated by Eviation for the maiden flight is also powered by two magniX magni650 Electric Propulsion Units (EPUs).
The magniX Electric Propulsion Unit (EPU) featured on the Alice Aircraft.
Since launching the Alice development program, Eviation has received orders from U.S.-based regional carriers Cape Air and Global Crossing Airlines for 75 and 50 Alice aircraft respectively. DHL Express, the German cargo operator, has also placed an order for 12 Alice aircraft.
Richard F. Chandler, Chairman, Clermont Group, Majority Shareholder of Eviation; Steve Crane, Test Pilot; Greg Davis, President and CEO of Eviation. (Photo: Eviation)
"The first flight of Alice represents a transformational milestone for the aviation industry," Cape Air Founder and Board Chairman Dan Wolf said, commenting on the maiden flight. "We currently fly more than 400 regional flights per day, connecting more than 30 cities across the United States and Caribbean. Alice can easily cover 80 percent of our flight operations, bringing sustainable, emission-free travel to the communities we serve."
Eviation’s latest targeted timeline on developing Alice includes working toward achieving type certification from the FAA by 2025, with the aircraft eventually being ready for deliveries and entry into service by 2027. These dates are however subject to change, according to the company.