Eviation is tracking towards a first flight, likely next month, of its all-electric Alice aircraft and is running ground tests of the prototype at its Moses Lake test base.
Arlington, Washington-based Eviation relocated the test article to Moses Lakes in early June having completed initial ground tests in May.
Following reassembly of the aircraft – which had its propellers, electric power units, wings and batteries removed for the transit to Moses Lake – “stationary tests are well under way”, says Gregory Davis, Eviation’s interim chief executive.
In addition, the company has ‘flown’ a simulated profile of the maiden sortie “from an energy management perspective”.
First flight “is going to be this summer”, says Davis, indicating a probable August deadline.
Davis says that the move to Moses Lake “has been on the cards since I joined the company over a year ago”.
“We moved the experimental aircraft to an experimental flight-test facility for experimental flight testing,” Davis says.
Work continues on the certification path for Alice with the US regulator and Eviation has also begun engaging with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.
Davis is confident the aircraft will hit its performance targets, but points out that operators will never fly the aircraft at its 250kt (463km/h) maximum speed on routes of 400nm (740km) with nine passengers on board.
He points out that most routes in the segment are no longer than 2h flight time: “When we are looking at the design that’s what we need to hit to satisfy the bulk of the market.
“What we need to do is build an airplane our customers are going to use every day.”
Orders for Alice have so far been received from US regional operator Cape Air (75) and DHL (12) and Eviation is working to grow the backlog.
“We are getting a lot of traction for all three variants. Our attendance at EBACE drove a lot of good leads to us and we are having extremely good conversations here as well,” says Loic Questiaux, head of EMEA sales.