I started out as a skeptic when talk of electric aircraft began to appear in aviation publications. But here we are today with the Solar Impulse 2 on an around the world flight and now a German manufactured electric aircraft trainer has been introduced to the market place! President Obama must be really pleased and man am I in awe of technology!
Pipistrel Introduces Alpha Electro Electric Aircraft
The original prototype had the catchy name "WATTsUp", but has now evolved into a market ready all electric trainer aircraft to compete with the venerable Cessna 150 (at least in the traffic pattern). An article by Russ Niles in AvWeb back on August 24th, 2014 introduced the WATTsUP Electric Trainer to us, and here is that article:
Pipistrel Flies WATTsUP Electric Trainer
Slovenian planemaker Pipistrel says its new electric-powered training aircraft will slash training costs while pleasing the neighbors of the small airports it's designed for. The WATTsUP two-seat trainer flew for the first time on Aug. 22 and will be unveiled publicly at the Salon de Blois airshow in France Aug. 30-31. "Technologies developed specially for this aircraft cut the cost of ab-initio pilot training by as much as 70 percent, making flying more affordable than ever before," said Pipistrel CEO Ivo Boscarol. "Being able to conduct training on smaller airfields closer to towns with zero C02 emissions and minimum noise is also a game changer!" The aircraft appears to share the airframe of Pipistrel's Sinus and Virus lines but that's where the similarity ends. Pipistrel says the propulsion system was designed in partnership with Siemens AG and the motor has more power (85 kW) than a Rotax 912. It climbs at better than 1,000 fpm and has an hour of endurance with a 30-minute reserve. On approach, it can recover up to 13 percent of the energy expended to that point from the windmilling prop, extending endurance even further in typical pattern training operations. A spent battery can be quickly swapped and will charge in an hour so continuous operation is possible with two batteries. Pipistrel says the aircraft is already certified in France and it will meet U.S. LSA standards. The company expects to start selling the planes in 2015 for less than €100,000 euros.
Pipistrel Introduces Alpha Electro
On April 14th, 2015 Pipistrel introduced us to the production model of the new Alpha Electro, an all-electric aircraft designed to be flown in the traffic pattern for touch and goes. This new electric aircraft is almost identical to the Pipistrel Alpha Trainer which will make it easy for students to transition from the Alpha Electro to the Alpha Trainer. The Alpha Electro can fly for just over an hour with a 30 minute reserve. The unique propellor design allows it to charge the batteries on descent, and once on the ground the batteries can be changed out in five minutes. According to company spokesman Tine Tomazic (chief engineer at Pipistrel) the Alpha Electro will be a great choice for flight schools with it's low hourly operating costs.
See The Alpha Electro In Flight
Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!