The all-electric Eviation has completed its ground tests, during which another anomaly was found in the prototype.
Despite the resolution of battery problems, Alice’s flight programme has been delayed further after another anomaly was found in the prototype during ground roll tests. However, the manufacturer says these will be fixed this summer, paving the way for the first take-off, according to Flightglobal.
For the time being, only the low-speed taxi tests (up to 160 km/h) have been completed, as the high-speed tests, which include an aborted take-off, can only be carried out after the necessary flight permits have been obtained.
The type certification process – involving 3 aircraft – could start in 2024, so Alice could be the first to fly cargo in 2025 at the earliest, while passengers could first use the aircraft in 2026.
The manufacturer is currently building up its supply chain, with Magnix as a stable element, supplying the Magni650 electric motors, which are essential for propulsion, and GKN Aerospace producing the wings.
However, the fuselage and tail section manufacturer has not yet been decided. This will be supplied by Multiplast of France for testing, but a larger capacity plant will be needed to start production.
The fly-by-wire controls will be provided by Honeywell and the on-board systems by subsidiary BendixKing for the duration of the tests, but there are two contenders for the final configuration, including the latest avionics from the US manufacturer, Anthem.
In addition to the air cargo version, two passenger configurations are available, with 9 seats for freighter flights and 6 seats for the business/VIP configuration. DHL signed a contract for 12 units last year, while US-based Cape Air ordered 75 units this year to upgrade its regional fleet.
According to the manufacturer, the type will cost 33-66% less to operate than conventional aircraft. The maximum range available is 814 km empty, while the expected average route length will be between 275 and 555 km at a cruising speed of 250 knots.