The Prescott, Arizona, Fire Department was called out to Prescott Municipal last night to fight a fire that was in the process of consuming a well-known electric plane prototype, Eviation Aircraft’s plane called Alice. No one was injured in the fire, and firefighters quickly put out the blaze.
The plane, which has not yet made its first flight, received substantial damage. The big question on everyone’s mind is this: What caused the fire? The company has come out with a statement on the mishap, explaining what investigators might be looking into first.
The plane, which is under development by the Israeli company, was slated for first flight this year. Despite not having flown yet, the plane was recognized by Time Magazine as being one of the top innovations of 2019. The fire will presumably affect the company’s timetable for first flight and eventual certification.
What started the fire will be of much interest to the company, to investigators and to observers of the still-embryonic electric flight segment. If it were started as a malfunction within the plane’s electrical power system, it would fuel concern that many have about the safety of electric planes given the fears surrounding in-flight battery fires and near-fires that were stoked when Boeing’s 787 went through issues with its new lithium-ion batteries, which temporarily grounded the 50-plane fleet before Boeing and its suppliers straightened the issue out.
In a statement from Eviation shortly after the fire, it said that the plane had been damaged but not destroyed in the fire and that the fire might have been triggered by ground equipment the plane was plugged into and not the plane’s own electrical system, though the company stopped short of making any categorical statements on cause.
In its statement, the company said that, “Eviation Aircraft experienced a fire incident during system testing of one of its aircraft at the Prescott Regional airport.” The fire, it said, “is believed to have been caused by a ground-based battery system which was being utilized during rigorous testing of its all-electric airplane.”
Visit PrescotteNews.com for more information on the fire.
Learn more about Eviation’s Alice here.
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