The first flight of an electric airplane in Norway

18. June 2018 was an important date for the future of electric flight: Pipistrel's Alpha Electro aircraft successfully completed the first flight of an electric powered airplane in Norway, piloted by the Director of AVINOR, Mr. Dag Falk Pedersen and the Norwegian Minister of Transport, Mr. Ketil Solvik-Olsen as the passenger.

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Norway's state-owned company AVINOR, a large company operating most of Norway's public airports, wants Norway to become the first market where electric aviation takes the majority of market share. The goal is to electrify the entire local air transport by 2040. Pipistrel's role in this goal is the great advantage of our aircraft - their excellent flight characteristics. The minimum drag and a lot of lift enables flight with low enough energy use to cover the majority of inter-city transport. Electric cars are usually equipped with high performance motors and large batteries. In contrast, the Alpha Electro motor has a power of about 50 kilowatts and a battery of only 21 kWh. Nevertheless, this is enough for the airplane to fly for one hour (plusf reserve). It can be charged again very fast with the help of a customized charging station. As fuel prices are constantly increasing and electric power has low prices, such an electric airplane can also reduce the training costs for new pilots for as much as 70% and without CO2 emissions.
The Minister, Mr. Olsen, also pointed out that the battery prices are rapidly becoming lower, so electrification of all domestic air transport is becoming a feasible goal for the government.

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Director of the regional airline Widerøe, Mr. Stein Nilsen says that nowadays aircraft with outdated fossil-fuel propulsion technology, developed in the 1970s and harmful to the atmosphere, are used even for the shortest flights on local lines. Norway, the largest oil and gas exporter in Western Europe, decided to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030. Already half of the cars sold in the country are electric. Nilsen is convinced that such trends can also be observed in commercial aviation. He stated that he saw no technological barriers in order for the first commercial electric aircraft to fly in the next 10 years.

Mr. Tine Tomažič PhD., the director of Pipistrel Vertical Solution, the company responsible for all the research and development withing the Pipistrel group, attended the event.
At this occasion he said: "It is our honor to see the technology we developed being used and accepted so overwhelmingly well. We remain committed to developing novel electric flight concept that will change the way we travel today and see the Alpha Electro as an important step in achieving this goal. It is important that manufacturers, operators and the authorities recognise the importance of teamwork, especially when it comes to introductions of novel technologies, and we see Norway as an invaluable partner in pursuit of future of flying."

The event was supported by NLF (Norges Luftsportforbund, the Norwegian Air Sports Association). The advisor, Mr. Torkell Sætervadet, described the fruitful cooperation between Avinor and NFL on cooperation on an electric aircraft:  "They were very responsive to our ideas about electrification of air traffic. One of the results of our cooperation is the plan that is currently being conducted by Avinor and the Minister for Transport".

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The event was attended by about 300 people and it gathered overwhelming attention by media:

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-europe-44529509/will-norway-s-electric-plane-take-off
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Detailed info and technical characteristics of Alpha Electro aircraft: http://www.pipistrel.si/plane/alpha-electro/overview
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