Flight Training is the First Step to Commercial Travel!
If you’re an aviation enthusiast, the chances are good that you’ve been interested in the development of electric aircraft. Several electric aircraft designs have been unveiled recently, but one that has caught my eye is the Pipistrel Velis Electro.
First, it is essential to note this is the world’s first, and currently the only, electric aircraft to receive full-type certification from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). This was achieved in 2020, and it earned its UK certification (CAA TC) in 2022. The US and Canada certification has been elusive thus far. Let’s take a closer look at this intriguing aircraft and what it could mean for the future of flight.
The Design of the Velis Electro The Pipistrel Velis Electro is a T-tail design with a payload of 378 pounds and a cruise speed of approximately 103 mph or 90 knots. It has a range of 108 nm (124 miles), which means it can easily handle shorter flights without any issues. This aircraft can achieve altitudes over 12,000 feet with a flight time of 50 minutes, not including reserve. A battery from empty recharge can be completed within 70 minutes.
The Velis Electro is equipped with a redundant safety system starting with the 50-minute flight time and at least a 10-minute reserve. If the battery fails, the plane has been designed to “glide” for a distance. Should both these measures fail, the plane is outfitted with a ballistic parachute to float to the ground safely.
One of the most impressive things about this two-seat, fixed-wing aircraft is that it does not produce exhaust gasses, making it a genuinely emissions-free plane. The Velis Electro is said to be relatively quiet in terms of noise levels, with only 60 decibels. To put this into perspective, this noise level is at the same volume as a normal conversation between two people.
What Does This Mean for the Future of Flight? The fact that there are now electric aircraft capable of flying for more extended periods without producing emissions is a breakthrough. Although this particular aircraft is targeted for pilot training programs, this could mean that we see a shift in the aviation industry in the years to come. We are witnessing airlines opting for electric aircraft over traditional fuel-powered planes. Maintenance costs will get slashed as these electric aircraft have a minimal number of moving parts. You can count the moving propeller on the Velis Electro as it's only moving part.
Standard fuel-burning aircraft typically have to be “warmed up” and undergo a lengthy start-up procedure. This electric aircraft has a start-up consisting of only four switches and can be immediately activated. Operating costs are just 1/10th of the price when considering electricity over fuel.
Of course, some challenges still need to be addressed before we see widespread adoption of electric aircraft, such as range and charging times. Domestic certification, although ongoing, has been a lengthy procedure to boot. But if these challenges can be overcome, we could see a real air travel revolution.
Conclusion: The Pipistrel Velis Electro is an exciting new electric aircraft that has the potential to change the aviation industry as we know it. With its emissions-free design and relatively quiet operation, the Velis Electro could be just what we need to reduce our environmental impact while still enjoying all the benefits of air travel. Only time will tell if electric aircraft will catch on quickly, but we’re keeping our eye on this promising new technology. This electric aircraft can set you back north at $215,000.