Estimated reading time 3 minutes, 35 seconds.
magniX, a Washington-based manufacturer of electric propulsion systems, powered the first flight of Universal Hydrogen’s hydrogen-electric De Havilland Canada Dash 8 aircraft on March 2.
The aircraft was equipped with one conventional turboprop engine and one magni650 electric propulsion unit (EPU), which received electricity from a hydrogen fuel cell system. magniX noted that its EPUs are “electric agnostic,” meaning they are able to be powered by any electric power source.
The Dash 8 took off from Grant County International Airport (MWH) in Moses Lake, Washington, at 8:41 a.m. local time, and flew for 15 minutes before returning to MWH. Thanks to this achievement, Universal Hydrogen’s Dash 8 is now officially the world’s largest hydrogen fuel cell-powered aircraft.
“Hydrogen has never enjoyed greater mindshare and we have witnessed many governments laying out ambitious strategies to harness it,” said Nuno Taborda, CEO of magniX. “Passing this milestone with Universal Hydrogen furthers our mission to accelerate the adoption of zero-carbon flight.”
magniX announced in October 2022 that it is entering the hydrogen fuel cell development space, stating that hydrogen fuel cells would “complement its battery electric and hybrid electric systems.”
The company added: “Hydrogen has a high energy density, providing the capability to power electric aircraft of 50 to 90 passengers. By offering this technology alongside battery electric and hybrid electric systems, which will remain better suited to powering smaller aircraft, magniX will be able to offer a wider range of electric solutions to operators transitioning to carbon-free fleets.”
To date, magniX has been involved in a number of electric aircraft projects. In December 2019, the company powered a battery electric de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver prototype operated by British Columbia-based Harbour Air. The aircraft is equipped with the 750-horsepower magni500 EPU, and has completed more than 30 flights tests. Harbour Air is working on a second electric Beaver, which will be utilized as its certification validation aircraft.
In May 2020, magniX also powered the first flight of a commercially-focused Cessna Grand Caravan 208B with the magni500 EPU. In June 2022, the company powered the all-electric flight of a modified Robinson R44 helicopter, and in September of the same year, Eviation’s all-electric Alice commuter plane made its inaugural flight powered by two magni650 EPUs.