For decades they've been a staple of transportation on the west coast. Harbour Air, with its brightly painted fleet of DeHavilland Beavers, Otters and
Twin Otters seemed to be everywhere. All on floats, naturally.
If you were in Vancouver and had a trial date in Victoria, you often bundled yourself into one of those Twin Otters for a quick hop across the Georgia Strait, inner harbour to inner harbour.
Now, Harbour Air is going a different route - electric. They're not scrapping the all-Canadian fleet either. They're switching the engines for electric motors.
Seaplane operator Harbour Air, which regularly shuttles B.C.'s political class to and from Victoria, is looking to become the first all-electric fleet of commercial planes in Canada – but the company head says passengers have nothing to fear.
Greg McDougall, founder of the company that bills itself as North America’s largest seaplane airline, said Monday that “I’ll be the first guy to fly one. I’ll be the test pilot of it.” He was referring to an electric-powered prototype the company will test within months as a prelude to electrifying the fleet within about two years.
By November, the company is planning to be testing a de Havilland Canada DHC 2 Beaver, a six-passenger aircraft equipped with an all-electric motor developed by magniX, a company based in Redmond, Wash. MagniX has been crafting the technology on the ground, but has yet to operate it in an aircraft.The DH-C2 Beaver, first flown in the 50s, is a much sought after aircraft along the west coast from Alaska to California. A company outside Seattle restores them. The rights to the Beaver, Otter and Twin Otter were recently bought by Viking Air operating out of Victoria airport.
Electric, wow!! Could this be yet another lease on life for Canada's most famous airplanes?