The Slovenian company Pipistrel has manufactured a light aircraft with an electric propulsion system for the Australian aviation corporation Electro.Aero. The other day it made a test flight, the first step towards certification as a permitted aircraft. The model is called the Alpha Electro and is positioned as an electric training aircraft - a pioneer of the era of electric air machines.
Electro.Aero started the paperwork at the end of 2017, and when all the bureaucratic subtleties are sorted out, the company will be among the leading players in the new market area. Its electric planes are very compact, quiet, safe and easy to fly - orders are already coming from all over the country, where people are tired of the hum of engines overhead.
The Alpha Electro is designed as a lightweight two-seater monoplane, not suitable for passenger or freight transport, but suitable for personal transport. The aircraft for training new pilots are equipped with lithium-ion batteries, which provide 1 hour of continuous flight, but there is also an emergency reserve for another 30 minutes. Replacing batteries with the right infrastructure takes a few minutes and fully recharging them in up to 1 hour.
Little is known about the flying qualities of an electric aircraft; they are deliberately modest. But the electric motor is much easier to maintain than the internal combustion engine, because it actually has only one moving part. Accordingly, the total cost of repair and maintenance of such machines will be lower, which, together with other performance characteristics, predicts a great future for them. Australia is a vast desert continent and it is more profitable to fly here than to travel on the roads.