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GKN Aerospace joins Eviation Alice electric plane project as work continues after fire

Professional Engineering

A concept image showing the Eviation Alice in flight (Credit: Eviation)
A concept image showing the Eviation Alice in flight (Credit: Eviation)

Electric plane pioneer Eviation has signed a collaboration agreement with GKN Aerospace for the design and manufacture of wing, tail assembly and electrical wiring interconnection systems for its Alice aircraft.

The Israeli company hopes the plane will be the world’s first all-electric commuter aircraft designed from scratch. The nine-seater plane has a forecast range of 1,000km with 45-minute battery reserves left over, making it suitable for regional routes.

A prototype of the cutting-edge aircraft was damaged in a fire in January. An Eviation statement at the time said the blaze, which happened during ground testing at Prescott Regional Airport in Arizona, was believed to have been caused by a ground-based battery system.

The firm later told Professional Engineering that the aircraft was “intact”, but did not provide further information on the damage or if it had another prototype. Professional Engineering has contacted the company for more information.

GKN Aerospace designs and manufactures lightweight aerostructures and electrical wiring interconnection systems, as well as lightweight business jet empennages, or tail structures. As part of the agreement, design and manufacturing activities are already ongoing at Eviation in Israel and at ‘several’ GKN engineering centres across Europe. The multinational firm aims to ‘mature’ designs for the Alice.

“In the quest for more sustainable and environmentally-friendly aviation, we are excited to be part of the Eviation programme, which is at the forefront in taking electric flight from a future aspiration into today’s reality,” said GKN’s Matteo Borghini Lilli, director of its wing product group.

“GKN Aerospace is proud to bring its wealth of experience in design and certification, in conjunction with key technological innovations, to achieve this aspiration.”

The company “brings tremendous expertise to the programme, allowing us to think again about what could be achieved with advanced aerostructures,” said Eviation CEO and co-founder Omer Bar Yohay. “I trust that we’ll see GKN Aerospace take on a growing part of our development and manufacturing effort as the programme matures and the Alice nears production.”

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Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. 


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