Tier 1 Engineering flies R44 with magniX electric power unit

Avatar for Glenn SandsBy Glenn Sands | June 8, 2022

Estimated reading time 2 minutes, 42 seconds.

Tier 1 Engineering has achieved the first flight of an all-electric Robinson R44 with a magniX electric propulsion unit (EPU).

Tier 1 Engineering Achieves Successful First Flight of Robinson 44 Helicopter with magniX Electric Propulsion Unit

The aircraft — N3115T — took to the air at 8 a.m. on June 4 at the Los Alamitos Army Airfield, California, and the flight lasted just over three minutes.

While it’s not the first flight of an electrically-powered R44 — Tier 1 Engineering completed that back in 2016 — it’s the first in the partnership between Santa-Ana, California-based Tier 1 and magniX.

“This historic flight of an all-electric helicopter with a certifiable electric engine was an important step towards obtaining aircraft certification,” said Glen Dromgoole, president of Tier 1 Engineering. “We are excited to expand the flight tests to greater distances and demonstrate safe reliable all-electric flight.”

Tier 1 is developing the all-electric Robinson R44 for Lung Biotechnology PBC, a company that is pioneering techniques to restore damaged lungs to a state suitable for transplantation. It intends to acquire a fleet of the helicopters and will use them to provide urgent hospital-to-hospital transportation for time-critical transplant operations.  

“magniX has been powering all-electric aircraft since December 2019, and this flight represents another first for the company as we have now electrified a rotary aircraft,” said Nuno Taborda, magniX’s CEO.

“This landmark event demonstrates yet again magniX’s commitments to lead the electrification of aviation by designing and delivering industry-leading products through smart innovation and customer-centricity. This is a significant achievement that will lead to the sustainable delivery of life-saving organs.”

Tier 1 Engineering is in discussions with the FAA aircraft certification office in Los Angeles to acquired a supplemental type certificate for the e-R44 program.

Notice a spelling mistake or typo?

Click on the button below to send an email to our team and we will get to it as soon as possible.

Report an error or typo

Have a story idea you would like to suggest?

Click on the button below to send an email to our team and we will get to it as soon as possible.

Suggest a story

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.