De Havilland Aircraft and Pratt and Whitney Canada have partnered to build a test bed hybrid commuter aircraft using a legacy Dash-8-100. The companies announced the partnership this week and it’s unique in the world. It’s the first time an established airframer and engine manufacturer have gotten together on what might be a standard configuration for short haul airliners. The plan is to put a turbine engine driving a generator to supplement battery power for the electric motors on the wings. P&WC will do the power, De Havilland will modify the airframe. The federal and Quebec governments are putting up $163 million for the project.
The aircraft will be put together over the next year or so and ground testing is expected in 2022. Flight testing is expected in 2024. “Hybrid-electric technology holds considerable potential to drive the next step-change in efficiency for aircraft engines, while contributing to the development of the industry’s workforce, economic growth and innovation,” said P&WC President Maria Della. De Havilland spokesman Dave Riggs said the partnership carries on the tradition of innovation at his company. “We are immensely proud to be the first manufacturer of regional aircraft supporting the development of hybrid-electric propulsion technology,” he said.