By CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE
PARIS, France — An Israeli aircraft company will be testing its new electric passenger plane in Moses Lake.
Speaking at the Paris Air Show on Tuesday, Eviation CEO Omer Bar-Yohay told reporters that the company will be working with Seattle-based AeroTEC to test and certify their new, all-electric plane at the Grant County International Airport.
“We will be flight testing in Moses Lake with the help of AeroTEC,” Bar-Yohay said.
The three-engined Alice will carry eight passengers and two crew and its three electric motors are powered entirely by a battery, Bar-Yohay said. As proposed, the Alice will have a maximum air speed of roughly 280 mph and a range of 650 miles, Bar-Yohay said.
While the Alice hasn’t flown yet, Bar-Yohay told reporters he expects the plane to make its first flight sometime late this year or in early 2020.
“We built this from the ground up to be electric; it is not a retrofit,” Bar-Yohay said. “It’s a huge battery with a plane attached.”
Before the plane comes to Moses Lake for flight testing, Bar-Yohay said a number of the aircraft’s component systems need to be tested, and that will take place at the company’s facility in Prescott, Arizona. Despite the newness of every system in the aircraft — none has been certified by the Federal Aviation Administration — Bar-Yohay said Eviation has been in talks with the FAA and hopes to have the Alice certified by late 2021 or early 2022.
“It’s a plane, it looks like a plane, it has all the redundancies that you want to be in an airplane,” he said. “We have the right people and the right partners to make this happen.”
“We can survive and certify in today’s regulatory environment,” he added.
However, the plane will not fly from Prescott to Moses Lake, Bar-Yohay said. It simply doesn’t have the range.
“It’s not flown yet, but it will fly in the U.S.,” he said. “It will not fly to Moses Lake, but it will fly in Moses Lake.”
AeroTEC is currently working with Mitsubishi Aircraft to certify that company’s medium-range passenger jet.
Bar-Yohay said Eviation has made a “double digit” sale to East Coast commuter airline Cape Air, which flies between small and medium-sized cities in New England, portions of the Midwest, Montana, the Caribbean and Micronesia.
The Eviation CEO said he hopes that an easy-to-fly, easy-to-maintain, all-electric commuter airplane will open up travel possibilities and destinations that don’t currently exist.
“We want to change the way people travel,” Bar-Yohay said.
Eviation, founded in 2015, is also working on the Orca, an all-electric, unmanned utility craft capable of carrying roughly 100 pounds of cargo.
Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.