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B.C. teen makes Canadian aviation history with commercial e-flight

Edwin Clements, 15, won a contest to be Canada's first person to take a commercial flight on an electric plane

A teenager from Campbell River made history on Friday, June 14. 

Edwin Clements, 15, won a contest to be the first person to take a commercial flight on an electric plane operated by Sealand Flight. 

"I'm really excited about aviation, and I wanted to be part of history. It's really exciting," he said. "It was really fun. It was pretty quiet and handled very well, even though it was a little bumpy."

Clements has always wanted to fly and is a member of the air cadets. He plans on becoming a commercial airline pilot. 

The contest, which enables Clements to fly for $20 instead of the usual $199, was conceived by Mike Andrews, the spokesperson and a pilot for Sealand Flight. He says Sealand wanted to give someone interested in improving the aviation industry's sustainability a fair chance by rewarding them with partaking in a huge step for Canada's aviation industry. Clements had to submit an essay under 300 words on why he wanted to fly an electric plane. Andrews said his submission mentioned Clements' desire to do just that.

"This is the one event to start opening up the door to more implementation of sustainable aviation technology in our industry. It's been available for private and experimental use for quite some time. However, this is the first time a paying customer is coming to utilize this electric aircraft," says Andrews. "For us, it's the start of our flight training in electric aircraft. We've got several students lined up already. It starts opening up the doorway for other operators to start similar paths to adopting this type of technology." 

Learning how to fly the electric plane, a Pipistrel Velis Electro, will now be in Sealand Flight's full-time training program. They are the first company in Canada to offer this opportunity. 

Theo Robson, the chief of staff of the Canadian Advanced Air Mobility Consortium (CAAM), was in attendance. According to its website, CAAM is a federal not-for-profit consortium acting as the national catalyst for the Advanced Air Mobility industry in the country. 

"Truly, it is not an understatement to say what we just witnessed was a huge occasion not just for the region, not just for the province, but nationally," he says. "I just want to give another round of applause to Sealand for being the innovators and leaders my organization is truly leaning on to help expedite the future we all want to create."


About the Author: Brendan Jure

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