The era of electric aircraft is coming

(ORDO NEWS) — The limitation of air travel amid the pandemic COVID-19 dramatically improved the environmental situation in the world. When travel restrictions are lifted, travelers, along with the joy of newly available trips, will recall the annoying feeling that arises after the payment for tickets is debited.

To solve both problems: environmental pollution and the high cost of air travel – can all-electric aircraft. The largest of them recently completed its first 30-minute flight.

Aircraft emit hydrocarbons harmful to the environment, as well as oxides of nitrogen, sulfur and lead. But the main consequence of air travel is carbon dioxide pollution. Further: global warming, the greenhouse effect, ozone holes – all this we have heard more than once.

The pandemic of a new coronavirus infection unexpectedly showed: if people suddenly stop wandering between airports, carbon dioxide emissions are reduced by tens of percent, and in record time.

Ecology is important. Our children and grandchildren will have to live on a planet that we will leave behind. Yes. But such phrases are unlikely to satisfy the boss, who sends him on a regular business trip. Yes, and no one wants to refuse a trip because of airplane exhausts. Ozone holes do not scare your wife, who for the third year in a row has been asking for a vacation in Bali. Everyday problems and interests will always be above global environmental disasters. After all, they are here and now, and not “in the next 30 years, we all … will be bad.”

To develop new ways of transforming various types of energy into kinetic energy – the energy of motion – this is a problem that can and should be solved. Seattle-based Magnix, an electric motor company, is one of those companies that are concerned about green energy and low-cost transportation. Magnix teamed up with Harbor Air to upgrade the all-electric Cessna Grand Caravan 208. Caravan’s engine power is 750 hp.

Last week, the plane passed its first tests on Lake Moses, in the state of Washington. Observers to the 30-minute test flight say they barely heard noise from Caravan’s engines.

An 11-meter aircraft can carry up to nine passengers. According to Magnix leader Roy Ganzarsky, this limitation depends on battery capacity and can be overcome. Now the caravan flies on a time-tested lithium-ion battery.

Progress in the development of lithium-sulfur batteries and hydrogen fuel cells should lead to a decrease in the mass of batteries and increase their efficiency. Magnix plans over the next decade to create a 1,500 hp engine that can carry up to 20 passengers. Sending planes with a cabin for 100 passengers to the sky is the next stage, which, according to Ganzarsky, will take from 30 to 40 years.

In addition to the obvious environmental benefits, fully electric planes will cost 80% less than fuel-powered planes. The reason is simple: electric devices are not so demanding in matters of maintenance. Perhaps at most, maintenance will focus on the exterior of the craft, using tools such as this one from Platforms and Ladders. This could improve aircraft safety as well as there would be more time spent on spotting weaknesses in the aircraft that could ground it. Overall, the low cost of the flight will lead not only to affordable air tickets, but will also make direct flights of the Ekaterinburg-Krasnoyarsk type without a change in Moscow more likely to increase the total duration of a flight by 2–3 times.


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