Rex and Dovetail Electric Aviation announced a cooperation yesterday that could have the first Rex Saab flying with a retrofitted electric propulsion system in as little as four years.
With the help of Dovetail Electric Aviation, the same business that owns Rose Bay tourism operator Sydney Seaplanes, it has announced a new “strategic alliance” to accelerate the introduction of electric-powered small aircraft to Australia.
A start-up pioneering revolutionary electric aircraft concepts, Dante Aeronautical has a presence in Spain and Australia and founded Dovetail in 2021 with Sydney Aviation Holdings, owners of Sydney Seaplanes.
An aircraft from Rex will be used as a test plane for the project, together with Rex’s resources for engineering, maintenance, and storage.
Using MagniX engines, Dovetail is the official dealer in Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific, and Mediterranean Europe, where Rex operates its Saab 340 fleet.
Reconfigured planes are intended to save up to 40% on operational expenses, making them far quieter than their predecessors.
“We are both proud and excited to be at the forefront of advancements in regional aviation and helping our national efforts in meeting the aim of nett zero emissions by 2050.” Rex deputy chairman John Sharp said.
There are currently plans for electric aircraft conversion centres in Europe and Singapore whenever certification is obtained.
“Dovetail promises to deliver the holy grail in aviation: real sustainability; cheaper maintenance and operational expenses, and less waste as a function of the reuse of existing aircraft,” Mr Sharp said.
These include REX planes, seaplanes, and training planes, which will be the first to use electric battery propulsion.
The partnership with Sydney Seaplanes and Dante Aeronautical in Dovetail Electric Aviation is an excellent opportunity for us to share our aviation and engineering skills while advancing Rex’s journey towards a zero-emissions future.
Zero-emissions aviation might be brought into the mainstream more quickly and cost-effectively by converting turbine aircraft to electric propulsion. Compared to the eight to ten years it takes to get certification for a clean sheet electric aircraft, Dovetail aims to get certified in four years for converted aircraft at a fraction of the cost.
Using an existing airframe, Dovetail will certify an aircraft’s propulsion system, including the electric motor, battery packs, and hydrogen fuel cells. As a result, it will develop unique intellectual property (IP) in conversion engineering, testing technology, and power plant machine learning.