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A new aero tech company has launched out of Delta, British Columbia, which is aiming to become the first all-electric flight training unit in Canada, while also focusing on electric and hydrogen power; remotely piloted aircraft systems and airspace integration; and battery and charging infrastructure.
The new company, called elibird aero, was formally launched on Jan. 10 by founder Teara Fraser and her leadership team. Fraser is a trailblazer in aviation, known for launching Iskwew Air in 2019 — the first airline in Canada founded and owned by an Indigenous woman — and aerial surveying company, Kîsik Aerial Survey Inc., before that.
“My passion for innovating and co-creating the sustainable technology of the future in aviation and aerospace has led me to launch this new venture, elibird aero,” said Fraser.
“There are bounds of synergies between Iskwew Air and elibird aero. In fact, much of what we are planning with elibird aero helps to carve a pathway to our shared vision for this industry – one that . . . is more equitable, diverse, creative, and resilient than ever before.”
Elibird aero also has a partnership with the Canadian Advanced Air Mobility Consortium (CAAM), of which Fraser’s Iskwew Air is a founding member.
“CAAM is thrilled to support the launch of elibird aero who is growing the advanced air mobility ecosystem . . . and leading the way in Canada’s transition toward zero-emission aviation operations,” said JR Hammond, executive director of CAAM.
The Vancouver Airport Authority has also expressed its support, noting the fact that “through the Innovation Hub at YVR, we look forward to working alongside [elibird aero] to create a greener and more resilient future as we advance our shared sustainability goals.”
As a first step in achieving its all-electric flight training objective, elibird aero placed a deposit on two eFlyer 2 aircraft in February 2022. The eFlyer 2 is an all-electric, two-seat aircraft produced by Bye Aerospace, primarily for the flight training segment.
In August 2021, Bye Aerospace founder and CEO, George E. Bye, said the eFlyer 2 was entering the serial production phase, following four years of flight testing, and the aircraft was undergoing FAA Part 23 certification.
Elibird aero has said it is #300 and #301 in the eFlyer 2 production line.
In the meantime, the company has begun flight training operations out of its base at Boundary Bay Airport (CZBB) with a traditional Cessna 172 (C-GBAX), after having received flight training certification from Transport Canada in October 2022.
The company’s facility at CZBB is also home to the Indigenous LIFT Collective, a non-profit that was founded by Fraser in 2018. Through the non-profit, Fraser created an initiative aimed to inspire Indigenous youth to pursue aviation, called Give them Wings. Now that the organization has a new home, the goal is to “ramp up” Give them Wings events.
While the elibird aero venture is “just taking flight,” there appear to be several avenues for growth within the company, according to its mission statement.
As well, elibird aero’s website indicates that the company has plans to bring “immersive learning technologies” into its flight training program this April, which would likely include virtual reality.