Pipistrel is the first private electric aircraft already sold in hundreds of copies.
There are electric planes like Alice, which have received orders for dozens of devices, or Tecnam P-Volt. Pipistrel is the only private plane to have already sold hundreds of copies, a few dozen in Switzerland and to flight schools in Europe, and above all a hundred in China, where it is going to build a 130 ha airport in Jurong. The Slovenian company has also sold the Chinese the right to use its technology to manufacture its electric two-seaters in China.
In the summer of 2020, a team led by futurist Morell Westermann from Schänis in Switzerland flew to Norderney, on the North Sea in Germany – with the first EASA-certified electric aircraft, a Velis Electro from Pipistrel. At the end of August 2021, they will set off on another big electric tour, this time to Berlin.
The flight from Switzerland to the German North Sea coast was a beacon of hope in this otherwise bleak Corona year. The trip to electric power took the team over several stages in the far north, accompanied by numerous media representatives on a total of 13 airfields. In the end, several records were on the credit list, positive publicity for general aviation and proof that electric mobility in the air is already possible today. However, the effort involved was high: the airfields, which were about 30 minutes from each other, had to set up a charging infrastructure so that the electric two-seater controlled by Marco Buholzer could continue to fly. There was the support of the ground crew, which transported the magazines and other equipment in two Teslas.
Morell Westermann wants to promote electric flight in Germany
In summer 2021, he will travel to Berlin with a fleet of electric planes
Six months later, initiator Morell Westermann – a futurist by profession – is now making plans for a new project. This time it is expected to move from the Zurich region to the new BER airport in Berlin. Again, the trip will likely be with at least one Velis Electro, in which this time he will not only take his place as a co-pilot, but will be piloting himself. He would like to make electric flight more suitable for everyday use. “We will set up a permanent charging infrastructure at participating airports and reach our destination without a ground crew. Charging stations should also be available for electric aircraft in the future and be registered as a permanent installation in the AIP, ”Westermann said in an interview with Aerokurier. In this way, he wants to “free the electric planes from the traffic” and allow their pilots to fly to other places within range of the Velis. The destinations are the newly opened BER airport in Berlin and the Schönhagen airfield, which will be the scene of “Brandenburg Electric” on August 28 and 29. At this show, everything should revolve around electromobility on the ground and in the air, given the green light by the corona situation.
Switzerland as a pioneer
In Switzerland, which is small in terms of area, electric flights are already relatively large. To date, Pipistrel has delivered more than ten Velis Electro to the country. These are operated in different locations on the basis of a leasing model funded by the Federal Office of Civil Aviation and implemented by AlpinAirPlanes. It also resulted in Westermann’s idea of starting the trip to Berlin with several Velis Electro, flying at different times. This electric fleet, so the idea, could present itself at the Schönhagen show and be ready for sightseeing flights. There could also be efficient media shuttle flights to Berlin with prominent supporters on board. During the North Sea tour, the Velis Electro also stopped in Siegerland.
The search for sponsors is in progress
Morell Westermann is currently seeking discussions with potential partners for his project. The main thing is to finance and set up the charging stations, which can cost between 25,000 and 50,000 euros depending on the effort. About ten partner airports are needed, some of which have already been found. Stuttgart Airport, which has already electrified part of its operations, for example in the form of ground-based battery packs or push-back electric vehicles, is likely to be there, says Westermann. Discussions on charging stations are also underway for Brandenburg. The Berlin Airport Company is also on board as a partner. Anyone wishing to support the project can also contact Morell Westermann and his team via the site http://electric-flight-route.eu/, which is still on construction.