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Something New for Old Beavers

By John Chalmers
CAHS Membership Secretary

01 Harbour Air Beaver

The venerable Canadian-built de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver, first flown in 1947, is about to begin a new life with a new engine. Regarded as one of the world’s best bush planes, over 1,600 Beavers were built by the time production ended in 1967.

Originally powered by a Wasp Jr radial engine, some Beavers over the years have been converted to turboprop power. And now, Harbour Air, the world’s largest all-seaplane airline, is going to do something totally new – power a Beaver with an electric engine!

Founded by Greg McDougall in 1982, Harbour Air operates regular scheduled service between Vancouver and Victoria, as well as service to Seattle and both scheduled and charter flights on the British Columbia coast. An experienced pilot himself with 12,000 hours in the cockpit, McDougall will be inducted as a Member of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame at ceremonies in Montréal on May 16.

Having started with two Beaver aircraft at the formation of his company, Greg now heads an operation with nearly 50 aircraft and employs 80 pilots among Harbour Air’s 450 employees. His latest innovation is to power a Beaver with an electric engine, with the intention of building the world’s first all-electric airline. First test flights of the Beaver e-plane are expected in late 2019. For more information, click here.

02 Greg seaplanes

A pilot, entrepreneur, innovator and airline builder, Greg McDougall is seen here with seaplane aircraft of his company, Harbour Air.