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All-electric plane joins Island aviation company's fleet

No set date for Sealand’s electric aircraft to take flight for the first time.

A Campbell River flight training and charter aviation company is a step closer to training pilots in an electric aircraft.

Sealand Flight this week took delivery of an all-electric Velis Electro aircraft that it intends to use to train new pilots.

“We are ecstatic that the capability for zero-emissions flight is now in our hangar,” said Sealand spokesman Mike Andrews. “At the same time, we are continuing to press forward to meet our innovative objectives with the airplane. We’re working closely with national and regional representatives of Transport Canada, preparing our Velis Electro to fly, and subsequently initiating their nation-wide trial program — evaluating the viability of electric aircraft in flight training.”

At this point there is no set date for Sealand’s electric aircraft to take flight for the first time. The company hopes that might happen in March after a week-long maintenance training course from aircraft manufacturer Pipistrel.

Before the first flight, the company must complete its aircraft charging infrastructure in Campbell River, and get clearance from Transport Canada to allow it to fly.

The aircraft, manufactured in Slovenia, was shipped to Campbell River in pieces. The company spent about an hour putting it together last weekend.

Sealand Flight has suggested it intends to eventually convert its entire fleet of Cessna aircraft to electric.

The company also offers flight training in Powell River, Courtenay, and Qualicum Beach, does tours and aircraft rentals.

While Sealand may be the first company in the province to consider flight training in an electric aircraft, it’s not the first to opt for zero-emission flying.

Harbour Air hopes to offer passenger service between the Island and mainland in the next two years in its first electric plane, a converted de Havilland Beaver floatplane.

The aircraft made a test flight between Richmond and the Saanich Peninsula in the summer of 2022.

aduffy@timescolonist.com