Viewers of a video offer positive and negative reactions to the event.
In the days after a video was posted to Twitter showing Eviation Aircraft’s new zero-emission plane taking to the sky for its inaugural flight, users of the microblogging website are reacting with both enthusiasm and criticism.
The world’s first all-electric commuter aircraft prototype, which the company has named Alice, took off from Grant County International Airport in Eastern Washington state at 7:10 a.m. on September 27 and flew for 8 minutes, reaching an altitude of 3,500 feet. The company says the aircraft produces no carbon emissions and also reduces noise. The video below gives viewers an idea of how the aircraft looks and sounds.
“Today we embark on the next era of aviation–we have successfully electrified the skies with the unforgettable first flight of Alice,” said Eviation President and CEO Gregory Davis in a press release. “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.”
Twitter Users Debate Electric Aircraft
On Twitter, users are divided over the viability of chasing down the dream of an all-electric commuter plane. Some are impressed and excited about the possibility, while others are pessimistic about whether electric aircraft technology will ever be an idea worth pursuing.
“Fantastic to see,” posts Paul Daniels. “In spite of the nay-sayers, there’s still progress beyond what so many touted as the limits of possible.”
“Any electric plane is only going to be good for short distances,” writes Bruce Burnett. “Nine passengers is not a good plane for commercial flights. So it has a weight limit of around two thousand pounds. I believe it will have a range of approximately two hours so don’t get fogged in and have to circle the airport.”
“Considering the energy storage progress in the past 20 years, a flying EV was inevitable” wrote OptoIsolated IO. “Anyone saying otherwise has no idea. The question still remains however, is it cost-effective, is it safe? Those are big questions that are still yet to be answered. This is how we find out.”
A Goal Of Transforming Regional Travel
Eviation believes expanding efforts to develop electric aircraft technology will transform regional travel. At the moment, two regional passenger airlines have, in fact, committed to purchase future versions of this prototype. Cape Air has placed an order for 75 of the planes and Global Crossing Airlines is in for 50 of them. And DHL is the first cargo customer, with an order of 12 Alice eCargo planes.
“The first flight of Alice represents a transformational milestone for the aviation industry,” said Cape Air Founder and Board Chairman Dan Wolf in the press release. “We currently fly more than 400 regional flights per day, connecting more than 30 cities across the United States and Caribbean. Alice can easily cover 80 percent of our flight operations, bringing sustainable, emission-free travel to the communities we serve.”
“The first flight of Alice confirms our belief that the era of sustainable aviation is here,” said Geoff Kehr, Senior Vice President, Global Air Fleet Management, DHL Express. “With our order of 12 Alice e-cargo planes, we are investing towards our overall goal of zero-emissions logistics.
Eviation believes the new technology will provide access to airports not currently used by commercial flights because of noise concerns or restricted operating hours.