Targeting the regional airline market, Eviation Aircraft’s all-electric Alice is expected to enter into service in 2022. Bar-Yohay conceived the idea for the Alice aircraft in 2016.
This aircraft will be the first all-electric multiengine airplane certified by the FAA and the first Part 23 fly-by-wire design. Cape Air has already put in a multi-million dollar order to add Alices to its fleet once certified and in service.
Features of the All-Electric Alice
The all-electric Alice introduces a more efficient and comfortable flight for both pilots and passengers. Some key features are:
- 3 Hartzell variable pitch propellers
- 260-kW Siemens electric motors
- Ability to reduce noise by managing propellers pitch and rpm
- Thin wings which will reduce turbulence discomfort
- Differential thrust from wingtip motors to combat crosswinds when landing
- Landing gear with retractable tailwheel by Magnaghi Aeronautica
- Bendix King AeroVue avionics suite
This aircraft has a max takeoff weight of 14,000 pounds, including the 8,200-pound battery. In the air, it will cruise at 240 knots when flying at 10,000 feet. At 32,000 feet it will cruise at an additional 25 knots.
Being the first all-electric multi-engine airline, Alice is under plenty of scrutiny. It will need to pass all tests presented by the FAA before receiving certification and being deemed ready for use in service.
It takes only a half-hour to charge for every one hour of flight time. You’d only need to wait one hour and ten minutes for a full recharge. The Alice can be charged with a half-megawatt battery that pulls from the local electrical grid.
Low Cost of Operation
The operation cost is $200 per hour with expectations of a dropping cost with improved battery technology. This gives airlines the opportunity to serve smaller airports where normally cost-inefficiency would keep them out.
Quieter Takeoff and Landing
A combination of the differential thrust, thin wings, and management of propellers pitch and rpm gives passengers a more comfortable takeoff and landing. This aircraft is even able to take off with the tail motor alone in an emergency situation given the power within the motor itself.
Honeywell Fly-by-Wire Avionics
The new lightweight fly-by-wire flight control system by Honeywell will help make the Alice one of the easiest commercial aircrafts to fly. Honeywell is a respected name in flight control system design.
The lightweight design helps conserve energy in-flight. The system is designed with safety in mind, with a setup that was built to prepare for all possible failures.
The cabin of the Alice was designed to present a luxurious experience to passengers. Following the prototype and first production, the cabin will be pressurized. It is designed to carry nine passengers for 650 miles of air travel and will cruise at 240 knots (275 mph).
The cabin offers far more personal space to passengers than other regional alternatives. It even has a touch-enabled reading light and wireless phone charging deck installed for each seat. The soft leather seats themselves are designed to swivel toward the oversized windows for a better view.
Making Strides for Electric Aircrafts
Alice will be the first completely electric aircraft certified by the FAA, clearing the way for more development in electric aircraft travel. Eviation’s Alice will bring in a potential third age of aviation. The combined low operation cost and passenger comfort will make this an attractive purchase for airlines.
Testing for Eviation’s Alice will most likely take place in Moses Lake, Washington. Once certified, the aircraft will be manufactured in the U.S. While we don’t yet know specifically know where manufacturing will take place, we can assume it will be in Prescott, Arizona where Eviation is currently based.
While Eviation is planning for Alice to enter service in 2022, they have to complete a series of checkpoints before that point. Check out their milestones to entering service:
- 2019: Paris Air Show prototype debut
- End of 2019: First flight
- 2021: FAA Part 23 certification
- 2022: Entry to service
If all goes well, Cape Air will be transporting passengers via Eviation’s Alice in four years.
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