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A five-minute test flight of an all-electric commercial aircraft by Vancouver-based Harbour Air has taken a significant step in the quest to replace aircraft powered by fossil fuels, a mode of transportation increasingly viewed through the prism of global warming.

The neon-green and indigo-blue seaplane took off from the Fraser River in Richmond, British Columbia, as a small crowd cheered from the dock on Tuesday morning. The propeller aircraft, a six-passenger de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver prototype, was powered by a magniX magni500 electric motor and piloted by Harbour Air Chief Executive Officer Greg McDougall.

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