Avinor’s goal with this event last August 14 was to show how capable an electric airplane can be. So the company invited government members, such as the Environment Minister, Ola Elvestuen, and Aase Marthe Horrigmo, a junior government minister, to fly on the electric Pipistrel Alpha Electro G2. The company’s CEO, Dag Falk-Petersen, flew the plane himself. And he was the man that ensured the emergency landing on lake Nordnestjønn succeeded. Although Aase Marthe Horrigmo and he were not hurt, electric aviation was. Badly.
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The Norwegian government asked Avinor to electrify all domestic aviation by 2040 and the Alpha Electro G2 was the stepping stone to get there. Hence the demonstration to government members.
Falk-Petersen explained the accident to the Norwegian website VG. “We were heading towards the airport when there was a signal that something was wrong with the engine power. Then the engine power weakened and disappeared completely. So I had to send mayday and try to find a place to land. There were a lot of trees there, but I stumbled into a pond on which we landed.”
Being an experient pilot, Falk-Petersen managed to remain calm and keep Horrigmo also calm during the whole situation. They crash-landed in the water at about 70 km/h (44 mph), climbed out of the plane through the wings and swam ashore.
The reasons for the electric motor to completely stop will be investigated. While they are not determined, it is possible tests with electric airplanes will go a little slower in Norway, a country that is deeply in love with electric vehicles despite selling oil as one of its main export products. Oil revenues account for about 22 percent of Norway’s GDP and 67 percent of all its exports.
Will that prevent new electric airplanes to be developed? How will engineers overcome problems such as the power shortage that has affected the Alpha Electro G2? There are many questions that will need to be answered until electric aviation becomes a reality.