- Tram Ho
Electric planes for trainee pilots
It is very difficult to keep the environment clean, especially if you are a pilot learning to fly.
Aviation vehicles are one step behind in the adoption of clean energy. While new generations of pilots wait for commercial airlines to abandon fossil fuels, they can still learn to fly planes without emitting too much carbon.
The Velis Electro is the only electric aircraft in the world fully certified in the EU and UK. This plane is taking off as a greener option for trainee pilots.
Produced by the Slovenian company Pipistrel, the Velis Electro is a two-seat light aircraft designed for flight schools. The single-engine electric plane can fly as high as 3,657m and has a maximum speed of 181.86km/h.
The electric plane has a flight time of about 50 minutes for each fully charged battery. It takes 2 hours to fully charge the battery to 100%.
Tine Tomažič, chief technology officer at Pipistrel Slovenia, says that although the Velis Electro offers a host of advantages over conventional aircraft, the main attraction lies in the fact that many of the basic principles remain the same.
” You can literally take the plane home and use it right away for whatever work you’re used to with conventional planes, ” he said.
In addition to the advantage of not releasing carbon into the air, electric planes are also quite quiet. The sound emitted when the aircraft is operating is only about 60 decibels, equivalent to a normal human conversation.
Tomažič says that thanks to that, electric planes can operate at much smaller airports without causing discomfort to people around that area.
A green future ahead
Since its launch in 2020, manufacturer Pipistrel says it has sold 100 electric planes for $175,500.
In the context of rising gasoline prices and carbon emissions from air travel being more closely monitored, the electric aircraft segment is increasingly interested in.
The Green Flight Academy in northern Sweden uses three Velis Electros in its private and commercial pilot certification training program. The program hopes to use aircraft powered by sustainable energy.
Johan Norberg, head of flight training at the academy, said pilots need about 30 percent of flying hours on electric planes to get a commercial pilot’s license.
There is a “huge difference” in operating energy costs, he said. He estimates the Velis Electro’s 40-minute flight uses up $2-3 in renewable electricity. Meanwhile, a traditional single-engine trainer plane costs about $45 on jet fuel.
Pipistrel says electric aircraft batteries need to be replaced after about 2,000 flight hours (there will be an indicator on the battery telling you exactly when to replace it). The price of a new pair of batteries is about $20,000.
Potential industry worth 40 billion USD
At Green Flight Academy, the tuition fee for training to get a pilot’s license costs about 14,500 USD, equivalent to conventional flight schools. ” When we can do more training on electric aircraft, the whole training program will be significantly cheaper, ” explains Norberg.
He added that in addition to short flights, cadets must make two-hour flights to be eligible for a pilot’s license.
Although the Velis Electro is not currently able to accommodate longer flights, the development of the next generation of electric aircraft with longer flight times opens up a new opportunity. In the next few years, pilots could learn to fly all-electric planes without burning fossil fuels.
Pipistrel was acquired this year by the American corporation Textron (owner of the Cessna and Lycoming brands). According to market research firm Precedence Research, the global electric aircraft market is expected to quadruple by 2030 and is estimated to be worth nearly $40 billion by the end of the decade.
Although it was taken off for training purposes, the Velis Electro is currently awaiting approval from the Federal Aviation Administration for commercial use in the US.
While trainee pilots now have the opportunity to fly zero-carbon aircraft, large planes have yet to get rid of fossil fuels. Zero-carbon cargo and long-haul flights are a very distant future. But Tomažič hopes that will change.
” What Velis Electro is doing today is training the next generation of pilots who will fly the big and green aviation vehicles of the future, ” he said.
” Electric aircraft not only represent a change in technology applied to training, but certainly also change the mindset of future pilots who will probably want to fly cleaner planes, run on electricity during their piloting career ,” said Tomažič.
According to CNN
Source : Genk