Slovenian airplane maker Pipistrel certified the first commercial-use electric airplane last year and is finding some buyers in Europe. Even as the Velis model trickles into the U.S. on a demonstration basis, it’s not clear when it will be certified by U.S. regulators. In this video shot at the DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase, Pipistrel rep Andy Chan updates us on where the airplane stands with regard to deliveries, even as technical details on battery and motor TBOs remain difficult to pin down.

8 COMMENTS

  1. So, while one part of the government is busy trying to destroy the oil companies and push everyone to go electric, the FAA persists in dragging its feet on electric aircraft certification standards?

    Is there really any justification for this, or am I right to be aggravated about it?

    • In truth, the electric startup companies do not seem to want to follow existing regulatory, testing, and performance certification standards. They announce “products” that are obviously uncertifyable by the existing aircraft standards.

      It’s not the FAA dragging it’s feet so much as startup companies that have no clue about what’s needed for a certified aircraft.

  2. Another very interesting plane that doubles as a glider. Looks like a very cool plane to fly. Last time I saw Paul was when I was checking out this plane. Brings back memories of their sales rep from Texas that died recently in a crash. Now I’m sad.
    I should still make the trip back to Florida to get checked out in this plane.

  3. I wonder if this should require a separate rating? A student that trains using battery power may not understand how to correctly operate and monitor a gas engine.
    It does seem more simple and should be far less expensive to operate. Something between a glider and gas engine aircraft.

  4. These performance numbers in the interview are dishonest. Paul man, all the love to you and I know you are a smart guy, but I feel you are doing AW readers a disservice with this false narrative that the laws of physics have been repealed and this is anything near primetime.
    I invite the math literate among us to have a look at the manufacturer’s EASA-approved performance data (POH-128-00-40-001 rev. 0)

    The one hour claimed endurance doesn’t exist. You only get if you don’t leave the pattern (an “A to A” flight), and its actually only 52 minutes (hey, they just stole 14% from my “hour”) in an extremely best case scenario. If you are thinking 52 minutes to do touch and goes works fine for you, well sorry, that’s actually 52 minutes at economy cruise circling the airport. If you want to actually apply takeoff power to practice landings, you are looking more like 30-35 minutes (page 5-14).

    If you leave the pattern (an “A to B” flight) the “real” VFR reserve regs kick in, and according to the above manufacturers data, if you are willing to tug along at 56% rated power(20kW) @1780 RPM at a blinding 69 knots, you get a whopping 32 minutes of endurance!! (page 5-15)

    If you dared use the max continuous power 36kW to approach the sound barrier at a blistering 93kts, you get a grand total of 20 minutes legal flight time.

    All of these numbers are for 100% battery health, and the charts show very brutal decreased performance as health goes down. For instance, an A to B flight at 93kts with 60% battery health gives you a dismal 13 minute legal flight time.All these numbers are based on 100% charge which may be easier said than done. The POH has a lot of battery temp cautions, and what flight school isn’t going to love that? Did you see the cabin? It makes a Cessna 150 look like the 1st class suite on Emirates. And oh, did I mention you loose almost 5 percent performance for EVERY ONE THOUSAND FEET above MSL?

    All this performance for a mere $240k. Again, can we please stop with this “electric planes are just over the horizon” nonsense?

    And is it really the FAA’s fault for not bending over backwards to change the certification basis rules for a plane that runs shorter than many people have lived without oxygen?