First certified electric plane takes off in Switzerland

Plug and fly: the Pipistrel Velis Electro plane Keystone-SDA

The world’s first certified aircraft powered by electricity has completed its maiden flight in western Switzerland.

This content was published on August 3, 2020 - 16:21
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The two-seater Pipistrel Velis Electro is mainly used for basic pilot training. It flew over a village near Fribourg last week, announced Switzerland’s Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) on Monday.

Its certification came via close cooperation between FOCA and other aviation authorities, as well as the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Slovenian manufacturer Pipistrel.

In the three years leading to the certification process, FOCA and the others defined the conditions for its operation, maintenance, and pilot and personnel training. Thanks to this small plane, aviation authorities have been able to gain experience in approving low-emission types of aircraft propulsion. In mid-March, EASA approved its electric motor.

Now FOCA and EASA have a foundation for future certifications of low-emission and environmentally friendly aircraft that reduce air as well as noise pollution. Up until now, only combustion engines were regulated for small aircraft.

The Pipistrel Velis Electro belongs to the light sport aircraft category. According to the manufacturer, its maximum flight time is 50 minutes plus a ten-minute reserve.

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