Pipistrel, the aircraft manufacturer from Slovenia, celebrates the first anniversary of the type certification of its battery-powered two seater, the Velis Electro. After EASA granted the type-certificate on June 10th 2020, the Velis Electro remains the only type-certified electrically powered airplane in the world.
Big beneficiaries of this ground-breaking technology are the neighbouring communities. The acoustic nuisance of the Velis Electro contrasts significantly with usually older and heavier fuel-powered counterparts, reducing the noise by up to 70%. This has allowed the reintroduction of flight operations during weekends and holidays, an activity that had been previously banned on aerodromes with nearby populations, such as Toussus-le-Noble in France. The available flying time has therefore increased both for flight schools and for student pilots, who would otherwise need to secure slots during busy weekdays.
The ultimate beneficiary of electrical aircraft is our planet, as emissions can be cut practically to zero, especially when electricity is generated from renewable sources. This is the case of the aerodromes of Fribourg-Ecuvillens in Switzerland and Aix-Les Milles in southern France, which implemented solar-energy chargers for electric aircraft and have recently become the home bases of their first Velis Electros.
Pipistrel shares some numbers regarding both their manufacturing rate and their exisiting customer base.
- 5 aircraft per month is the current production rate of the Velis Electro.
- 6 Velis Electro were ordered by our launch customer, the French Aeronautical Federation (FFA).
- 50 aircraft plus 150 options is the largest order so far, by Green Aerolease.
- 13 aeroplanes form the largest fleet currently in operation by AlpinAirPlanes, accumulating an average of 150 flight hours per month in 10 Swiss FTOs.
- countries already operate the Velis Electro: Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
- 200+ pilots have already received their endorsements to fly the Velis Electro.
- 29 pilot instructors have been approved to train on the Velis Electro.
- 27 Part-66 licenced mechanics from 9 Part-145 maintenance organisations have been trained to maintain and repair the Velis Electro.
- 1,500+ flight hours have been logged so far on the entire fleet, allowing to save 94,000+ kg of CO2 (compared to a classic 2-seat trainer consuming approximately 20 kg of fuel per hour)
- 2 Velis Electro will be leased by the Danish Defence, becoming the first air force to operate electrically powered aircraft.