Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) has certified the Pipistrel Alpha Electro in its advanced ultralight category, the first certification of an electric aircraft in North America. The certification means the aircraft can be used commercially in its intended role as an economical trainer. Electricairplanes can’t qualify for the factory-built light sport category (S-LSA) because FAA regulations specify those aircraft have a “single, reciprocating engine.” The FAA has so far resisted numerous calls to remove that term, saying the electric power adds levels of complexity to the operation and maintenance beyond the scope of LSA, according to Wired. So the only classifications that fitthe Electro and most other electric designs are experimental or exhibition and commercial operations are not permitted for experimentals.
Pipistrel Canada distributor Jonas Boll told AVweb that Canadian rules don’t include the same phraseology and certification of the Alpha Electro “was pretty straightforward.” TCCA required upgrades of the operating manual and pilot operating handbook and signed off on the certification early this month. There is one Electro flying in Western Canada but the owner uses it as a personal aircraft, not as a trainer. AVweb’s Paul Bertorelli flew the Electro two years ago and shot this video.