The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

FAA Seeks Input on Special Conditions to Certify MagniX Electric Propulsion Systems

The FAA has invited industry comments on proposals to introduce special conditions for certifying electric propulsion systems being developed by U.S. company MagniX. A Notice of Proposed Special Conditions issued on November 19 under FAA’s Part 33 (14 CFR) rules invited comments to be submitted by December 21.

The consultation covers the Magni250 and Magni500 propulsion systems. These are being developed by MagniX to electrify existing aircraft, such as the De Havilland Beaver and the Cessna Caravan.

According to MagniX, it is on track to complete type certification of its battery-powered propulsion systems by early 2022. This would clear the way for supplemental type certificates to “re-engine” the Cessna Caravan as the eCaravan and the DHC-2 Beaver as the eBeaver.

The latter aircraft is being developed in conjunction with Harbour Air, a Vancouver, Canada-based scheduled operator. MagniX is partnered with AeroTec to develop the eCaravan.

The Seattle-based company applied for type certification for the 375-hp Magni250 and the 750-hp Magni500 on June 4, 2019. This will be the first FAA type certification for an electric propulsion system. To support the agency’s efforts, standards body ASTM International has had its F39 committee working to help define technical criteria to support the proposed special conditions.

Those conditions cover factors such as the applicability of the MagniX propulsion systems, as well as engine ratings, operating limits, materials, fire protection, durability, and cooling. Full details of the proposed conditions have been published in the Federal Register.

In Europe, EASA has been working on special conditions for certifying electric and hybrid propulsion systems that would apply to all such equipment, rather than being specific to a particular manufacturer. The agency completed a consultation process in March and in May approved the E-811-268MVLC motor that powers Pipistrel’s new Velis Electro light aircraft, which was itself type certified in June.