Rex has announced a new partnership with Australian company Dovetail Electric Aviation (Dovetail) that could see the first Rex Saab aircraft operating with a retrofitted electric propeller system in as little as four years.
The conversion of turbine aircraft to electric-powered planes promises to bring zero emissions aviation into the mainstream much faster and more cost-effectively than via newly commissioned electrical planes.
The converted aircraft will reportedly be 30-40% quieter than the current planes and will see reduced operating costs of around 40%.
Dovetail expects to achieve certification for converted aircraft within four years in around 2026, compared with more than eight to ten years for clean sheet electric aircraft, and at a fraction of the certification costs.
The partnership, which will operate under the Dovetail brand, will develop and certify the retrofitting of electric engines onto legacy aircraft, initially for regional and general aviation aircraft.
Dovetail was formed in 2021 by Sydney Aviation Holdings, owners of Sydney Seaplanes and Dante Aeronautical, a start-up pioneering disruptive electric aviation concepts with a presence both in Spain and Australia.
Rex will provide an aircraft to be used as a test bed for the project along with a raft of support facilities, including engineering expertise, technical assistance, maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO)s well as storage facilities and workforce accommodation.
John Sharp, Deputy Chairman of Rex Airlines, said: “Rex is both proud and excited to be at the forefront of developments in sustainable regional aviation and helping our national efforts in achieving the target of net zero emissions by 2050.”
“Regional airlines operating short sectors as well as seaplanes and training aircraft will be the early adopters of electric battery propulsion. Australia, with its very high utilisation of regional aviation and a large number of aircraft capable of conversion, is a perfect incubator for the electric aviation industry.
“Significantly lower operating costs of electric aircraft will also help to stimulate regional aviation services between communities not currently served by scheduled flights.
“Dovetail promises to deliver the holy grail in aviation: true sustainability; lower maintenance and operating c and also less waste as a function of the reuse of existing aircraft,” said Mr. Sharp.
Mr Shaw added: “Our vision is to lead regional aviation across the world into an exciting, new sustainable era before leveraging the IP, approvals and facilities we establish into larger aircraft and longer flights as improvements in electric propulsion technology enable.”
Dovetail will certify the entire propulsion system of an aircraft by integrating the electric motor, battery packs and hydrogen fuel cells into one ‘drive-train’ on an existing airframe.
For more, head to dovetail.aero
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