Eviation’s Alice prototype has left Arlington Municipal Airport where it had been undergoing ground tests ahead of its first flight in Washington state. But its first journey away from its manufacturing home was on land, not by air.
The fledgling electric aircraft company has relocated its prototype airplane to Moses Lake, Washington, where it will now undertake its first flight. Eviation had initially planned on flying Alice for the first time from the 5,400-foot runway at its new manufacturing base north of Seattle, but after completing ground tests, it made the decision to relocate the aircraft to its new eastern flight test base.
The added time to prepare for the highly-anticipated first flight, initially intended for last fall and more recently in the spring, and the relocation, underscores not just the complexity inherent in any aerospace development program, but also the challenges that come with fielding an all-electric propulsion system on an all-new commercial aircraft as Eviation addresses heating and battery management issues with its design ahead of the prototype’s maiden flight.
Gregory Davis, in his first interview with The Air Current since taking the reins of Eviation in February, said Moses Lake has “been on the cards as a strong possibility whether we were going to go and do first flight there or move there for the flight test campaign thereafter was a question. And we made the decision just to go ahead and move the aircraft there for first flight.”
Grant County International Airport features a 13,000-foot runway, ideal for flight test operations and formerly an alternate landing site for the Space Shuttle. Moses Lake, roughly 200 miles away from Arlington, comes with the vast open airspace of eastern Washington state, and has hosted flight test operations for a myriad of manufacturers including Boeing, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation, MagniX and AeroTec.
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