Reed Macdonald, magniX CEO. (Photo provided by magniX)

Reed Macdonald, magniX CEO. (Photo provided by magniX)

Everett-based magniX appoints longtime aerospace exec as new CEO

Reed Macdonald will take the helm at a pivotal time for the company that builds electric motors for airplanes.

EVERETT — An aerospace executive with more than 25 years of experience will take the helm at magniX, an Everett-based company that designs and builds electric motors for aircraft.

Reed Macdonald joins magniX this month as its chief executive officer.

He replaces Nuno Taborda, a former Rolls Royce executive, who served as the firm’s chief executive for less than a year.

Macdonald was previously CEO of FDS Avionics, which manufactures electronics equipment for aviation and military markets, including in-flight entertainment systems for business jets.

“It is an exciting time for magniX as its groundbreaking technology takes giant leaps toward making zero emissions flight a commercial reality,” Macdonald said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the magniX team to bring our industry-leading electric powertrains to the marketplace and to accelerate the transition to sustainable aviation.”

The company recently received a pre-order for 50 of its magni650 electric engines from Harbour Air, one of the largest commercial seaplane carriers in North America.

“magniX is entering a significant new phase in our game-changing technology’s progress toward entry into service,” said John Saabas, the magniX chairman. “Reed’s commercial experience and expertise are well-suited to steward magniX through this chapter in our journey to change the history of aviation.”

In 2019, Harbour Air and magniX made history when they retrofitted a Harbour Air De Havilland DHC-2 Beaver with a magniX electric engine, becoming the world’s first fully electric commercial aircraft to take flight, the companies said.

The powertrain developer has powered “groundbreaking flights by five different aircraft,” including a hydrogen-electric De Havilland Dash 8 retrofitted and operated by Universal Hydrogen.

Locally, magniX may be best known for its partnership with Eviation Aircraft, a company with offices and engineering facilities near Arlington Municipal Airport. The two firms are subsidiaries of the Clermont Group, a private investment firm based in Singapore. Both Eviation and magniX relocated to Snohomish County in 2020.

Together, they designed and built a fully electric, nine-seat airplane that completed its first test flight in September 2022. Known as Alice, the plane is specially designed around the magniX electric propulsion system.

Alice produces no carbon emissions and costs significantly less to operate per flight hour than light jets or high-end turboprops, Eviation has said.

Electric and hydrogen-electric aircraft are expected to play a vital role in supporting commercial air travel, particularly shorter, commuter flights of under 500 miles.

Aviation is responsible for 9% of transportation emissions in the United States and 3% of the nation’s greenhouse gas production, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. All-electric and hybrid aircraft could help reduce the environmental impact.

In 2021, magniX received a $74 million grant from NASA to advance electric aircraft propulsion technologies for commercial airline use.

Janice Podsada;; 425-339-3097; Twitter: @JanicePods

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