magniX Powers First Point-To-Point Flight of an All-Electric Helicopter

Nov. 7, 2022
Flight of battery-powered Robinson 44 helicopter accelerates path to sustainable delivery of life-saving organs.

magniX, a manufacturer of electric propulsion solutions for aviation, is pleased to have powered the first fully-electric helicopter flight between airfields, in partnership with Tier 1 Engineering. The modified electric Robinson 44 (eR44) helicopter powered with a magniX magni250 electric propulsion unit (EPU) made its historic journey from Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport to Palm Springs International Airport, arriving on Oct. 29 in a flight that lasted approximately 20 minutes.

Tier 1 Engineering is developing the magniX-powered eR44 for Lung Biotechnology PBC, a subsidiary of United Therapeutics Corporation, a biotechnology company dedicated to addressing the severe shortage of transplantable organs in the U.S. The magniX EPU was retrofitted into the helicopter together with a battery system developed by Tier 1 Engineering, specialists in the design and development of electric aircraft. The eR44 is designed to deliver human and manufactured organs for transplant with zero carbon emissions at the point of use.

"Building from our first flight of the eR44 helicopter last June, the successfully completed point-to-point flight takes us a step closer to the sustainable transport of life-saving organs," said Nuno Taborda, CEO of magniX. "magniX is excited to be part of an initiative that will positively affect those in need of urgent medical care. This is only the start of the applications for electric helicopters, which have a bright future as low-cost, carbon-free, reliable alternatives to combustion engine models."

magniX Celebrates Another Industry First

Since December 2019, magniX has also provided the technology to power a number of first flights, including that of Harbour Air's "eBeaver", a Cessna "eCaravan" and, most recently in September 2022, Eviation's all-electric commuter aircraft, Alice. This point-to-point flight of an electric rotary aircraft represents the latest first for the industry-leading electric solutions company. Tier 1 Engineering is currently working with the FAA on the eR44 project to obtain a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC). Lung Biotechnology PBC plans to acquire a fleet of sustainable aircraft to transport transplant organs.

"We are committed to charting a new path forward for the zero-carbon delivery of life-saving organs," said Dr. Martine Rothblatt, one of the helicopter's pilots and CEO of United Therapeutics Corporation. "Saturday's point-to-point flight proves that the technology necessary for our mission is already here, as we actively work with the FAA to certify the eR44 helicopter."

"Together we achieved an incredible outcome for the world's first airport-to-airport cross-country all-electric helicopter flight," said Glen Dromgoole, president of Tier 1 Engineering. "magniX has again demonstrated the reliability and power of its electric propulsion units, and we're proud to continue this journey to create sustainable options for organ donation and, ultimately, help save lives."