The first flight of Eviation’s electric commuter test article—dubbed Alice—could take place within days, CEO Omer Bar-Yohay told FLYING on Monday.
“I’m having a hard time committing to a date for first flight,” Bar-Yohay said in an email, “but I can say that we are about 5 to 6 [nice weather] testing days away from starting the flight campaign. We won’t do it a second before we feel safe and ready, but once we do, the Alice will fly and test often.”
The news came a day after the sleek, white, twin-motor prototype was spotted running its motors at its base airport, Arlington Municipal Airport (KAWO), north of Seattle, Washington.
Anticipation in advance of Alice’s first flight has been growing since this unique aircraft was unveiled at the 2019 Paris Air Show.
Photos posted on Twitter showed Alice with its cabin door open and one of its props turning.
Designed to carry nine passengers and two flight crew, Alice’s powerplant includes high-energy density batteries powering two 640kw magiX650 motors mounted on the rear of the airplane.
Honeywell has signed on as developer of the Alice fly-by-wire system. The airplane is expected to have a range of 440 nm and a maximum cruise speed of 250 kts. With an MTOW of 16,500 pounds, Eviation says the plane will have a maximum payload of 2,500 pounds.
Eviation says it expects to obtain FAA certification for Alice in 2024.
This isn’t the first time Alice has been seen taxiing at KAWO. Bar-Yhohay tweeted a video of Alice rolling down a runway last month.
December 17th, 1903 was a historic day as the wright brothers changed the world forever with the first powered flight.
We just taxied Alice yesterday… no big deal.@EviationAero pic.twitter.com/UpxgaErHyA
— Omer Bar-Yohay (@YohayBar) December 19, 2021
Alice Cargo and Executive Variants
Plans were announced last year for a luxurious executive configuration, with a maximum capacity of six passengers and more room for accoutrements such as a galley, lavatory, and sink.
Also, a cargo variant of Alice is also being planned, with a maximum cargo volume of 540 cubic feet. DHL Express announced a provisional order for 12 Alice cargo aircraft, to be delivered in 2024.
Heart Aerospace ES-19
Industry skeptics are eager to see how improved battery development will be able to effectively power all-electric commuter and regional airplanes. High-energy density—improving storage capacity and a battery’s ability to provide more watt-hours per kilogram—is crucial to their success.
Alice isn’t the only all-electric airliner under development. In Sweden, Heart Aerospace is working on its ES-19 regional airliner, designed to carry 19 passengers for a maximum range of 400 km. Scheduled to enter service in 2026, United Airlines and Mesa Airlines have made a provisional order for 200 ES-19s with an option to buy 100 more.
Heart released a video last month of its first subscale ES-19 test flight.