Update! Flight happening Tuesday 8AM.

Due to weather forecast on Wednesday they have moved up the test flight day to Tuesday morning!

Livestream will be here

Stream will start at 8AM and they are hoping for takeoff around 8:30AM.

We are pretty lucky here in B.C. to have a lot of very innovative and frankly brave companies.

One of those companies is Harbour Air. They were one of the first transportation companies in Canada to take the steps needed to offset their CO2 emissions and become carbon neutral.

Next week they’re doing something much much bigger. They’re going to fly an electric sea plane. Here is their promotional video showing the plane and all the work they have done so far.

It really can’t be stated how important this milestone is for commercial aviation.

This will be the first test of whether the motor and battery technology has advanced enough for it to begin replacing fossil fuelled aviation.

You won’t be taking a Harbour Air seaplane between Vancouver and Toronto, but these class of planes and travel are common all over the world and are a first step to those larger flights.

Here are Canadian emissions in the transportation sector.

Passenger aviation is dwarfed by personal vehicles and freight trucking, however, aviation is one of the most difficult sectors to electrify.

We can easily string catenary wire to electrify a railway or a bus and move people away from their cars by bike or walking. We can now electrify personal vehicles as well though it remains to be seen if it is feasible to electrify every car and truck on the road. But flying is very energy intensive. Without modern and sophisticated batteries to provide the needed power, electric flight simply isn’t feasible.

It may not make sense to electrify every airplane. We might instead look to alternatives, like electrified high speed rail that could do the same job with far less complexity.

There will, however, always be a need for flight of some kind. We should be very glad for companies like Harbour Air and MagniX pioneering this work to move us forward.

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