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Article from TNU DECEMBER 2023

+ Electric aircraft - The future

The race to fully introduce electric aircraft has made an important step forward with SaxonAir, based at Norwich Airport, leading the way. 

Centrepiece for a recent presentation was the Pipistrel Velis Electro two-seat trainer aircraft, the first EASA Type certified light aircraft driven entirely by electric propulsion.

Registered G-OEKO, the aircraft weighs 941lbs (428kg), including its batteries, and can fly for up to 50 minutes (plus a reserve) before recharging. Under normal conditions, the battery can be fully recharged in approximately an hour and ten minutes at the highest power setting.

Rebekah Hill, Sustainability Manager, SaxonAir, is emphatic: "It's such an exciting time for aviation, with advancements in new technologies like hydrogen and electrification. The industry is going to look very different in five or ten years' time, and we're lucky to be able to highlight the changing times, sharing the world's first certified electric aircraft with the public, giving everyone a taste of the future of aviation".

SaxonAir is seeking CAA approval of its e-PPL training course, including simulator training.

Ten SaxonAir pilots have already flown the Velis and the company is encouraging more to experience it with the launch of dedicated training days and “Electiflying” pleasure flights.  It is a groundbreaking initiative not only a revolutionary leap in air travel but also serving as a catalyst for inspiring and educating individuals about the boundless possibilities within the realm of electric aviation.

No distant flights at the moment however.  Currently 50 minutes is the airtime limit and if away from base a ground power is required.

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All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 200 words maximum

David Starkie, United Kingdom

I think the old electric milk floats could last longer than 50 minutes. Otherwise, door stop deliveries of milk bottles would have required a different vehicle for nearly every street!

Jacob Smith,

The hype regarding electric powered aircraft has been going on since man took to the air. Cars are the same and I can recall those that could also only run for 50 minutes before recharging. Now it is up to 400 miles. Let us hope it is the same for aircraft.

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