[Canada] Locally-produced electric airplane takes flight

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[Canada] Locally-produced electric airplane takes flight

Unread post by bimjim » Mon Dec 11, 2017

http://www.whitecourtstar.com/2017/12/1 ... kes-flight

[Canada] Locally-produced electric airplane takes flight
Marcia Love Whitecourt Star
Monday, December 11, 2017

Image
Alpha Electro has been delivered to a customer in West Vancouver for flight training.A single charge can allow a pilot to practice takeoffs and landings for an hour, with half-an-hour of reserve energy (Submitted | Pipistrel Aircraft Canada Inc).

An electric airplane manufactured in Whitecourt has been cleared for take-off at a flight school in Vancouver.

Pipistrel Aircraft Canada Inc. recently delivered its first fully electric production aircraft registered in the advanced ultra-light category to a customer in West Vancouver.

The Alpha Electro model is designed for flight school training. Operating out of the Pitt Meadows Airport, it will be used to make zero emission flights to and from several airports in the Vancouver and the lower mainland area.

Based at the Whitecourt Airport, Pipistrel worked on developing the two-seater Alpha Electro for the past two years and has been pioneering electric flight for the last decade.

Jonas Boll, Pipistrel Aircraft Canada Inc. dealer and distributor, said two to three of the planes are produced each week, with factory production booked up for six months.

Powered by a 60 kilowatt (80 horsepower) motor that's almost silent when running at full takeoff power, the aircraft can barely be heard from bystanders on the ground during all phases of flight, Boll said.

“The Alpha Electro is ideal for the training environment where noisy airplanes would normally circle around a runway while repeatedly practicing takeoff and landings,” he explained. “The Alpha Electro is virtually silent, (and) I'm sure many residents near an airport will appreciate the reduction in noise pollution this aircraft provides.”

Its batteries can be recharged in about 45 minutes, and a single charge can allow a pilot to practice takeoffs and landings for an hour, with half-an-hour of reserve energy. If the pilot encounters problems, the Alpha Electro is equipped with a rocket-propelled parachute.

The new aircraft is designed around Pipistrel's electric self-launch glider, the Taurus Electro, which has been in serial production since 2007.

Because many countries have no provisions in their aviation regulations which allow for electric propulsion, it can be challenging as regulators are slowly catching up with the advanced technology, Boll pointed out.

But he said Pipistrel is in the final phase of having the Alpha Electro approved in the Canadian advanced ultra-light category.

The Alpha Trainer can be flown by anyone in Canada who holds an ultra-light pilot permit, which requires a minimum of 20 hours of education in ultra-light airplane pilot ground school and a minimum of 10 hours total flight time.

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