Bjorn Takes To The Skies In The Pipestrel Electric Airplane

JUN 26 2018 BY DOMENICK YONEY 13

Come fly the EV-friendly skies

Electric airplanes may still be in their infancy, but Pipistrel has been working at making battery-powered flight a reality for more than a decade now. It now offers electric versions of two light-sport aircraft (LSA) models, the Taurus Electro and the Alpha Electro. Some flight time in the later by electric vehicle YouTuber Bjorn Nyland has us pretty excited by the pair of videos that were produced as a result.

The first bit of footage starts out with our EV hero getting situated in one of the two seats and the pilot going through a pre-flight checklist. Soon it taxis out to a runway, but has to wait a few minutes for some parachutists to clear the area before it can take off. It’s here that we get some explanation of the instrumentation of the small plane. For example, the motor, inverter, and battery temperatures are all monitored separately and a ton of other parameters regarding the battery pack are available at the turn of a switch.

Finally, the craft makes its way down the runway, lifting off at about 47 knots (54 miles per hour). Once they gain a bit of altitude, the pilot lays off the throttle and Nyland remarks at the relatively low amount of energy — around 24 kW — needed to maintain a speed of 74 knots (85 mph). A short time later and the numbers look even better: 21 kW for 88 knots (101 mph). For comparison’s sake, the passenger remarks his Tesla Model X would use way more energy to achieve the same speed (55 kW, we are informed by numbers added in editing).

The flight continues, making some low passes over the airfield and slightly dramatic turns, using up more energy than a “normal” flight. Though it appears to have only lasted about seven minutes, 19 percent of the battery was used. The pilot explains they used more energy than they normally would because of all the maneuvers.

Nyland clearly enjoyed the experience, and to be honest we certainly had a good time watching his production. We were excited, then, to learn there was another video made from the trip. This one (below) features Nyland with the plane and its pilot securely on the ground, along with a technician trained at Pipistrel’s facility in Slovenia. Here, we learn the plane is similar in cost as the gas-powered version, about $210,000, though it has a lot less maintenance.

We highly recommend making the time to enjoy these two videos for yourselves, and look forward to seeing more advances in electric flight soon. It seems the future might very well be electric on the flyways as well as the highways.  At least, we can only hope.

Source: YouTube

Categories: General, Videos

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13 Comments on "Bjorn Takes To The Skies In The Pipestrel Electric Airplane"

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Ok so since Clarkson Cote tells me his flying uses less gasoline than his Volt, when is he going to buy one of these?

That is really cool, Bjorn get to have all the fun…

Pipistrel should make a larger model for 20-30 passengers. They could make a lot of money on being among the first.
Just use 4 motors identical to this, and maybe some kind of capasitor to get more power at take off. Reuse as many parts as possible. Maybe even the batteries.
The Norwegian aviation agency have said they want to go electric on a lot of the domestic flying. Tax/fee reduction, pay for charging infrastructure on all national airports and so on.
They will also pay extra, to help E-planes sell enough to be profitable for the companies.

These planes are mostly for pilot training — current ranges wouldn’t be enough even for domestic commercial flights.

Yes this is just for testing, but Avinor (they control all flights in Norway, and almost all airports) have said they are ordering hybrid planes in the 2020ies (being developed now by Airbus, Siemens and Rolls Royce), and by 2030 a lot of the domestic trips will be with electric planes, and by 2040 they want most flights to be electric.

They want Norway to be leading globaly when it comes to e-plane deployment and use.

Think about tax free planes, free to use charging infrastructure on all airports and maybe other tax benefits as well.

A commercial airliner in Norway will buy e-planes with 19-50 seats for domestic use, with 250-300km range.

A seattle based company are developing a e-plane with 12 seats and 300km range.

Pipistrel could develop a 20 seat 300km plane (could make it slower with more wingspan and better glideing) and sell a lot to Norway, and cover the development costs quickly. They could probably also get some free loans from Avinor, to cover some development costs.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

This is cool!

I flew a Piper Cherokee, I bet this would be much quieter.

Bjorn can now “Hammer it” during lift off!
I hope he can get some more EV airtime soon!

Interesting how it sounds almost like a gasoline powered plane. I always assumed most of the noise was from the engine, but I guess it’s actually from the propeller.

Never been standing next to a quadcopter drone? Motorized flight is *not* quiet, no matter the energy source.

Sure, the noise from large propellers is slightly less annoying than jet engines; but that’s about it in terms of noise benefits. The idea that electric flight can be quiet (e.g. for the upcoming VTOL “air taxis” hyped all over the place nowadays), is unfortunately totally wrong.

That’s one of the main reasons why Elon prefers boring…

Please survive

The most interesting thing here was power consumption of just 20 kW cruising at 90 knots. I wonder how much of that is drag to generate downforce as opposed to drag to move forward through the air. The first component, I think (but aero is tricky stuff, right?), is independent of speed. Presumably generating lift gets harder with altitude though. The second component increases proportionally to the square of velocity, but decreases with altitude… It would be really interesting to know how the energy use depends on speed and altitude. I imagine there’s not a huge penalty going fairly fast – if flights could cost half as much by cruising at 500 kph instead of 800 or so, they would cruise more slowly than they do. But equally they are not going beat the speed of sound, perhaps because approaching that barrier costs much more energy. .? That said, flying electric cars actually look a lot less ridiculous to me now. Even at low airspeed this would be an extremely fast way to travel for trips that are up to a few hundred miles by car. Going directly from point to point is shorter, and with no need for roads… Read more »

I’ve always thought small electric planes could thrive as short flight island hoppers…As long as they could float that would alieve some “new tech” fears since most flights will require them to be over water the majority of the time…In Massachusetts there aren’t bridges to the islands of Matha’s Vineyard or Nantucket, yet there’s are many regional airports that fly to them within 100 Nautical Miles…

Now airports