Eviation Alice Completes First Flight


Eviation’s all-electric Alice aircraft successfully completed its first flight on Tuesday at Washington’s Grant County International Airport (MWH). The Alice “technology demonstrator” flew for eight minutes, reaching an altitude of 3,500 feet. The company reported that the flight, which tested propulsion system and fly-by-wire system functions, went according to plan.

“We have successfully electrified the skies with the unforgettable first flight of Alice,” said Eviation President and CEO Gregory Davis. “People now know what affordable, clean and sustainable aviation looks and sounds like for the first time in a fixed-wing, all-electric aircraft. This ground-breaking milestone will lead innovation in sustainable air travel, and shape both passenger and cargo travel in the future.”

Eviation plans to offer the Alice in commuter, executive and cargo versions and is currently planning to begin deliveries in 2027. For the Alice, the company is targeting a top speed of 160 knots, 250-NM range with a 30-minute reserve and maximum useful load of 2,500 pounds for the nine-passenger commuter variant and 2,600 pounds for the cargo version. The design is powered by two magniX magni650 electric propulsion units and features an advanced fly-by-wire system, flight controls and avionics by Honeywell. As previously reported by AVweb, Eviation has orders for the Alice from companies including Cape Air, GlobalX and DHL Express.

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Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. Tantalizing! How much do those batteries weigh? If some method could be devised to bottle up more energy, in a container as light as, say, a gasoline tank, then, voila!, electric flight would become the viable alternative to petroleum based fuels. It’s a target worth aiming for. Someday…

  2. It’s encouraging that this technology has progressed so rapidly, and flying prototypes have demonstrated the feasibility of electric propulsion (Though model planes have had electric motors for quite awhile) There was research toward using water to fuel internal combustion engines, and the old nuclear propulsion scheme had some ardent proponents. (Just ask Michael Rennie!) We should give those scientists and innovators the ball to run with. They’re a lot smarter than our public servants, and their incentives will be fame and fortune after their better mousetraps emerge from the hangar.

  3. WHY?? Making an electric airplane faces all the same problems and limitations of EV autos times two. Battery weight will kill useful load. Recharge time will significantly increase turn-around time. EV autos gain efficiency with regenerative braking on down hills, not on planes. Airport equipment network to recharge, firefight, and maintain??

    Not sure I’d take a gamble on investing in this until battery technology has some major breakthroughs.

      • If there’s anything in the actual known laws of the universe preventing an electric replacement of the 737, it has not been presented on these pages.
        The reason many of us sound like codgers is because there are huge challenges and we know what they are which sounds shocking to people after they have been showered in MSM BS. Also, because we are codgers.🤣😂.
        (Before anyone responds, I hope they read what I said carefully. We do not know limitations keeping us from making the batteries, we just do not know yet how to do it, or if we will find such limitations. It’s still unknown.)

        • You are correct, but it will take something like an order of magnitude improvement in battery technology before practical (not just niche edge cases) electric aviation is a reality. Battery technology has been improving, but at a frustratingly slow (compared to other electronics) linear-ish rate. Meanwhile, we have all these electric airplane startups saying that their super-duper plane will rule the skies in 2-3 years. (OK, that is a bit exaggerated!) It’s just not going to happen without that major breakthrough in battery technology – which is not on the horizon.

          • Seems to me a lot of the comments go too far. Unnecessarily since a successful battery tech could be announced tomorrow and it will still take a decade for the FAA to actually approve an electric machine.

        • Codger here. We don’t give these people enough credit. They won’t leap to the level of technology to start selling these planes today. It takes time just to refine the aerodynamics, fundamental flight parameters and stresses upon these aircraft. They can’t snap their fingers and eschew all that testing just to satisfy doubters and proponents with quickly finished products. They realize the problems you’re addressing, and they’ll formulate solutions when that becomes necessary.

          I worked at the USAF Test Pilot School, and one aircraft they trained pilots and flight test engineers with (One of those engineers was El Onizuka, who was killed during the Challenger disaster) was the F-4 Phantom. That plane was flown during the Vietnam Conflict, yet, we would receive an inch-thick volume of Dash One revisions on a regular basis. You can imagine how much “Dash One” data changes will take place with a wholly new design.

        • Wooster and Davis crashed attempting a takeoff with a full fuel load while testing their plane for a New York to Paris flight. Everyone thought that was the end of the Ortieg Prize contest. (Nungesser and Coli were also killed during their attempt to claim that prize.) Amelia Earhart and her navigator disappeared during their record flight attempt to circumnavigate the globe. Should aviation have stopped in its tracks after that tragedy? Progress does not march on without problems, some of them daunting and ‘hopeless’, but there are those who endeavor to solve those problems. This particular science is in its infancy, but smart people will figure out how to design these planes with capabilities unheard of at this stage.

  4. The only good case for an electric aircraft would be a converted Grand Caravan for skydiving with a quick change battery in the belly pod and 900-1200hp motor. Benefits: 5-6 trips to 12,500AGl / hour, no substantial climb rate fall off with altitude, pretty substantial re-gen on a decent profile at the limits of what the airframe and motor system would take, very fast turn around time. Also the propeller would be completely stopped during loading, (including throwing one last tandem on after starting for the runway.) To make it viable, I think it would require a system to drive over that would swap battery packs. 2 packs changing at reasonable rates with 1 pack in service on the plane and 1 minuteish swap time and you would really have something. Unlike many electric plane idea, the technology is all in place, the airframe, motors, batteries and control systems all currently exist it would simply have to be assembled with some clever engineering on the battery swap system and then an STC. AND it’s the perfect place to do beta testing as everyone already has a parachute on and all operations are conducted within gliding distance of an airport. PRICE, well let’s just say it’s gonna require a little subsidy money…..

    • Perhaps the initial product limitations will relegate these aircraft to such flight profiles, but they’re working feverishly to extend battery life for more endurance. Tesla claims some of their vehicles have 300 mile range. I’d say that would satisfy the requirements for many flight scenarios.

        • My wife and I just drove down on Sunday to do some shopping. I also went to your airport and visited with a guy named Herb who built and owns a bunch of hangars there. I’m hoping to build one here and was just picking his brain. That’s why we moved to Moses Lake…they have lots at the airport for lease.

          We moved here just in July. We came from Tacoma (plane was at Pierce County). Got my one and only medical over there (I’m a relatively new pilot).

  5. I just discovered that the engineering for this plane is based in Israel, and the organization is closely tied to Israel. It’s also built in my current home state of Washington. The Zionist in me is intrigued. I’ll have to look into this further. Israel is at the forefront in engineering and technology.

  6. Wow! 8 whole minutes in flight!!! The rest of the specs are imaginary hyperbole. None of this is real until there is a battery energy density breakthrough, which might happen eventually but not by 2027. As for the comment by Mr. X, note that the old guys who read and comment have decades of real world experience and knowledge that clearly escapes more youthful readers. To paraphrase Mark Twain: When I was young, my dad was so stupid I could hardly stand to be around him. But as I grew older I was amazed about how much he had learned.

    • There cannot be a real ‘breakthrough’ in battery technology, only subtle tweaks on the technology that already exists.

      The periodic table is a bitch, and there are only so many elements to work with.

      Hydrogen fuel cells can be made to work, but I suspect that will also be a practical dead end.

  7. I’ve posted on the issue of battery powered aviation a great number of times. There are two main items that require a bit of study. First: Producing lift via a wing takes power, plenty of it. Second: Raising a weight to a height (altitude) takes a specific and known amount of power. In fact, the definition of 1HP is to lift a 550 pound weight, 1 foot in 1 second. There is no magic here, there is no super “glider-esque” wing that will lift, oh, 9000 pounds of battery, to FL250, without consuming a known amount of HP over time, to do the work.

    Also know that 1KWh of battery can produce 1HP hour in real world use. (746W/HP) but there are battery, controller and motor losses. Conclusion, 9000 pounds of battery can provide (20% to 80% charge range) about 540 HP for an hour.

    Not even close to being practical.

    • Bravo! Someone who knows some physics and introduces real world facts into the discussion. One thing that has turned me off about electrifying aircraft and cars are the realities of mining cobalt in the congo by children, or of lithium in communist China. And the huge amount of ore required and destruction of the earth to build these batteries? From what I have read electric vehicles (cars) are not as environmentally friendly as internal combustion powered cars. The batteries are not recyclable and must be dismantled to be disposed of, a labor intensive process. And the high voltages and large currents running around an airframe in flight scares the heck out of this old codger. I remember the emergency procedures for runaway Nicad batteries which we ran for years in bizjets, until we just switched back to lead acid. This is another electrified aviation black hole that will consume copious amounts of cash

      • Children, huh? Well, that will be something to look into. Those are interesting pearls of data you’re relating. I was hoping our electric propulsion industry could operate 100% with domestic raw materials.

  8. While I remain a skeptic, I applaud anyone who actually gets beyond vaporware to actual flying hardware.

    Exposure to the real world is the only definitive way to prove or disprove the concept. Not to say, of course, that it will settle the debates; witness, for example, the Nikola Tesla free energy theory.

  9. Electric Plane Score Card (third quarter 2022) :
    PIPISTREL VELIS ELECTRO SW-128 – EASA.A.573 Type Certificate – about 50 minutes. (still working on FAA Type Certificate).

    C-FJOS – Harbour Air De Havilland Canada 1957 DHC-2 Beaver – Still flying flights 20 to 30 minutes couple times a month.

    N32EL – 2002 CESSNA 208B – Converted back to PT-6 Turbine and flying commercial in Alaska.

    N882EV – Eviation Alice – First flight 9.3 minutes.

  10. I was off the electrical grid for 28 years, not because I was trying to “save the planet” or anything, but because my property was not near powerlines and gradually building up my own system made more sense (as I got the dough, with no loans involved, and as I was building a house and shop, also mortage free) then coming up with 20 K in one fell swoop to give to my utility. One thing it taught me, was the real value of a single gallon of good old gasoline! One gallon, run thru my Honda generator, with ALL off it’s energy going into my 2,000 pound battery bank, (I wasn’t running a 3500 watt generator to run a 50 watt lightbulb in other words, but using a very efficient charger) produced what seemed to be an unbelievable amount of power! As in, 2 or 3 days of getting by, until the sun came out again or the wind blew. Fast forward 30 years, I’ve been grid tied for the last 15 years, never pay a power bill other then the minimum hookup fee, and drive a plug in Prius, while being a pilot also for the last 40 or 50 years (50 if you count my hang glider and UL time), so if ANYBODY should be a cheerleader for E flight, it should be me. BUT, it’s ain’t happening yet, not even close, at least until a watershed moment in battery tech occurs anyway. MUCH more viable in my estimation, is a hybrid powered plane,one like my plug in Prius, that combines the best of both worlds in internal combustion and E tech. Not as sexy as a pure electric, but much more viable, much sooner, in a much more practical sense.

  11. You are correct and thanks for living proof of what should have been done for everyone before the “grid” was established. Producing electricity onboard has already been done. A commercial system will soon be available that uses CO2 emissions instead of releasing them. Waiting for the miracle battery of the future has been the greatest myth perpetrated on mankind.