Vic electric plane development centre takes off

Brandon How

Victoria-based Dovetail Electric Aviation has officially opened its development centre in the Latrobe Aerospace Technology Precinct, where it will progress work on battery and hydrogen fuel cell electric powered aircraft.

On Friday, the Victoria state government helped launch the centre, which is expected to create 90 jobs over the next five years. The centre will support research and development activity, as well as potential flight testing.

The Latrobe Aerospace Technology Precinct supports the co-location of companies in the advanced air mobility supply chain. It will also help the state reach it’s 2045 objective to have net zero emissions.

Industry and Science minister Ed Husic with Dovetail Electric Aviation co-founder and managing director David Doral

Dovetail Electric Aviation is working to retrofit regional aircraft with battery and hydrogen fuel-cell based propulsion. Last January, the federal government committed $3 million to the firm through its CRC-P initiative.

Invest Victoria is also offering non-dilutive financial support to Dovetail Electric Aviation, although it has not disclosed the amount.

The company wants to get certification for its first battery aircraft in 2026 ahead of bringing it to market. Work on attaining certification of its hydrogen fuel cell aircraft conversions will be a subsequent focus.

The launch of Dovetail’s development centre comes a month after it announced that Spanish aerostructures supplier and engine components manufacturer Aciturri would be the lead investor for the second tranche of the Victorian startups’ seed investment round.

Dovetail Electric Aviation chief executive David Doral said in a statement that the team are “honoured to receive the support of the Victorian government which will enable Dovetail to accelerate our R&D efforts, bringing us closer to our vision of a sustainable, efficient, and accessible aviation future”.

The state government released an Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) industry vision statement in August 2022, highlighting opportunities in developing complementary industries in clean aviation, renewables, advanced manufacturing and digital technology.

State minister for Economic Growth Tim Pallas said in a statement that “securing Dovetail Electric Aviation’s footprint in the Latrobe Aerospace Technology Precinct is another win for AAM in Victoria and our clean energy economy”.

The state government often cites findings from a 2020 Deloitte Access Economics, commissioned by the Commonwealth government.

The AAM industry vision statement highlights that “over the next 20 years of efficient and renewable AAM and drone technologies could increase Victoria’s Gross State Product (GSP) by $2.8 billion”.

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