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Construction of a new battery-powered aircraft begins as the demand among flying school classes increases.
Slovenian lightweight manufacturer Pipistrel has its Alpha Electro all-electric airplane certified for flying to Australia, and the airplane is now going into service in Perth. In fact, the enterprise began series manufacturing of planes after increasing market demands. It is a fast growing field of new applications such as electrical flying.
Currently, most airlines are considering what it means for airliners, such as Airbus, which is working with Rolls-Royce and Siemens to build a model electrical plane, or Wright Electrical, a start-up company working with easeJet to launch a fully electrical one. However, the real thing is that smaller light airplanes are electrically powered before these solid airliners are used.
This was the concept behind Pipistrel's Alpha Electro. It is a two-seater electro-coach, which is designed for the needs of flying school. This fully compound vehicle with electromotor and 20 kW rechargeable batteries weighs a maximum of 350 kg and has a maximum load capacity of 200 kg. Says the airline that the plane can remain in the sky for an additional 1 hr, with an additional 30 min in standby.
So much progress has been made with the electrical airplane that it is brought into series production: Commenting on the aircraft's first Australian flights last weekend, Richard Charlton, Electro Aero's Chief Financial Officer, said in his Australian Aviation declaration that it was a trouble-free first outing.
Mr Charlton said the plane was much more quiet and cheap to fly than similar sizes driven by reciprocating engine propulsion. But Boscarol proposes that his Alpha Electro and other all-electric trainer planes could help reduce the costs of the pilot's profession: Operating costs are also very low (~$3 per trip at $0.15 per kWh) and the small rechargeable batteries can be recharged relatively quickly or exchanged for a quick turn-around.
It is estimated that the battery in this aircraft will be able to survive for about 1000 flight hour.