A well known company Pipistrel d.o.o. from Ajdovščina Slovenia, is after years of development producing an electric powered aircraft, where the design is based on gliders which can fly, or better, glide considerable distances without an engine purely by its basic aerodynamic properties. And as such are very suitable for a fully electric powertrain.
This aircraft by Pipistrel (translation: Bat) is especially developed for the flight training role where students need to practice touch and goes countless time until they are proficient. This type of training results in hours flying in the traffic pattern and with the Alpha Electro noise and emissions are kept to the absolute minimum.
The serially produced "Alpha Electro" aircraft shares an airframe which has been proven as excellent by hundreds of Pipistrel aircraft flying by their owners worldwide. The electric powertrain is operated with one simple lever, thus enabling the student to focus on learning piloting skills.
With the smart fast charger, using the ALPHA Electro is as simple as charging a mobile phone. Even if you only fly for fun and not in the business of training future generations of pilots, the almost silent cockpit, the immediate response of the powertrain and the lack of exhaust emissions will make you feel the spirit of pioneering electric flight.
Their prototype WATTsUP was developed in partnership with Siemens AG, who provided the electric main propulsion components, and represents the next generation of Pipistrels electric aircraft. Every single element of aircraft has been refined to be lighter, more efficient and more reliable.
The 21 kWh battery pack is dual-redundant and designed to be either quickly replaceable within minutes or fast charged in less than one hour, thanks to the next generation Battery Management technology developed by the company.
The airframe uses the same proven features from hundreds of Pipistrel aircraft flying worldwide. More info on the Wattsup website.
The first flight of this aircraft was in August, 2014. EAA reported on that flight, click here for the story.
As of AERO2018 there had been 18 aircraft delivered around the world with 80 on order, this is a succes for the company. Most of them are destined for flight schools. Should you desire a test flight we advise you to contact a distributor in your area.
The following short list of specifications were available at AERO:
|Take-off Power||60 kW|
|Continuous||50 kW @ 2100 - 2400 RPM|
|Battery Packs||2, removable and each 60 kg|
|Empty Weight||350 kg|
|Stall Speed||42 KCAS|
|TBO engine||2000 hours|
|'Fuel' cost||less than $25 / € 20 per hour|
|Endurance||1 hour plus 30 minute reserve|
As the Alpha Electro is based on the same airframe as the Alpha Trainer, most specifications apply too. Notable differences are the empty weight which is significantly higher as is the stall speed.
Please note that the replacement cost for the two battery packs are not included into the hourly cost as is the initial cost for the recharging unit, which is close to € 10.000.