Flying the world's first certified ELECTRIC PLANE – This is the Pipistrel Velis Electro
Good morning guys, welcome to this video and thanks for joining me this morning here Let’s talk about electric planes I think it’s fair to say that the development of electric aircraft is at least 10 years behind the development of electric cars for example I mean up to today no electric aircraft has yet made it into some sort of larger scale commercial production While there are obviously good reasons for that and I’ll talk about this a little later the slovenian manufacturer Pipistrel has managed to let’s say, take the next step towards a more sustainable electric general aviation and I’ll find out more on this today, so stay tuned for that! Now I’m here today at a small little airport in the western part of Switzerland it’s called Ecuvillens based here is a company named AlpinAirplanes they are the main distributor for Pipistrel here in Switzerland and in the region I got in touch with their boss, a guy called Marc Corpataux to ask him if I could testfly his new plane and he said yes, so I’m very excited to be here today and I’m gonna see now if I can somewhere find the aircraft [MUSIC] And this is it! This is the new pipistrel velis electro an all electrically powered, two seater aircraft using its 57kW or about 80hp engine and its 22 kWh battery it will keep you up in the air for about one hour and yes, you’re right it’s based on the previous Alpha Electro but has now a 50 kg MTOW increase, a sturdier landing gear and an improved endurance but the thing that sets it apart from every other electric aircraft ever built this is now a certified plane! Obviously I wanted to know a little more about what that means from Marc Corpataux Marc, first of all, thank you so much for taking the time today It’s a pleasure I heard you have now the first certified electric aircraft I think basically in the world what were the difficulties, the troubles you were facing when certifying this Yeah, we started actually in December 2016 with a so called white paper here in Switzerland and the idea initially was to make it a national project, a proof of concept We presented the white paper at FOCA 2016 as set and they agreed to do that prototyping here in Switzerland but only half a year later, all of us understood, that this is not such an easy task, because the regulatory was not existing at the time and so it was just too big only for the small Switzerland And, why is the certification such a big thing for you, for Pipistrel, what can you do with the certified plane that you couldn’t do before with the non-certified aircraft? Uhm, typically the mission of this aircraft is training so, basic training, but also familiarization and really also being able to do the necessary flight training saying gathering hours the typical endurance is 50 minutes so this leads to this typical mission and therefore you need the certified aircraft to be able to do training on it Uhm you mentioned flight schools, I heard you have a couple of flight schools here in Switzerland already that you’re gonna be partnering with to start this mission, this training mission here in Switzerland Can you estimate what the approximate cost saving is gonna be in basic training when you’re doing your PPL or your LAPL-Training here? Uhm, the cost saving is not the major thing with this aircraft I always say, the big gain we have on electric aviation is the noise so this aircraft you hardly recognise you hardly notice So that’s the big advantage, the costs themself also regarding operating cost, is much less it’s less then half, however today we don’t have experience about long-lasting batteries, so what is guaranteed are 700 charging cycles this typically leads to about 35-40 chf per hour if you calculate it down [plane taking off in backround] and, as I said we’re lacking the experience today, we will see in future, if the batteries last as we estimate for 1400 and even plus cycles, then it will be much cheaper (the aircraft) I heard Pipistrel was partnering up with a company called greenmotion to try to build
charging infrastructure here in Switzerland because you obviously don’t only need the electric aircraft but also somewhere to charge it What’s the idea behind this partnership? That’s right, so actually there are several companies interested in partnering, however Greenmotion was kind of “the quick one” so there is a contract with pipistrel exclusive over 10 years Greenmotion will provide the chargers coming directly with the aircraft but will also provide chargers for infrastructure so standalone chargers the Idea behind it is to create the grid starting in Switzerland hopefully going around Switzerland over all Europe and the good thing with greenmotion: They already have a system for reservation of a charger but also, let’s say, a paying system all already with an app And this is the big advantage, this is a lack today Today we’re starting with an aircraft and a charger You go to a place, if you’re lucky the charger is free, and, and, you know, it’s all in the very beginning but, with this partnership here, this will be much more professional That sounds amazing So it’s all gonna be, not only electric but also somehow a smart system that connects everything that you need for the electric plane absolutely, absolutely Sounds amazing, I’m really curious to see now, I think we’re gonna preflight it real quick and then go flying with it. Thanks so much for the answers Pleasure [MUSIC] “Ecuvillens, Bonjour, HB-SYE, Hangar 8, ready for taxi runup 27” then, where do you start…? So funny how you’re just pulling back to idle and the engine stops This is also a big advantage so you don’t have any ground noise, you will see, the runup is just once, full throttle and apart from this there is no noise at all on ground If you think about it, especially in cooler days a combustion engined aircraft will run during 10 minutes on ground just to warm up the oil, warm up the engine and basically makes noise for nothing You’re not even flying – That’s true Okay, so we’re at the runup position runway 27, we quickly do the engine runup so basically what you do: You check there is no annunciator light, there is no, explanation here, then you go minimum 50kW which is required for take-off You check this Yup, there it is – Checked, no annunciator, no explanations, and, active, active Propulsion system is checked So basically then you have Flaps set T/O, trim is set, controls free and correct Runup completed So, departure briefing: Runway 27, in case of problems on ground: Throttle off, brakes, In case of problems after rotation: Throttle of, land on the remaining runway Problems after lift-off: Straight ahead into the green
20-30° maximum (bank) 500 feet at 2800′ we will make a 180° and land opposite – okay So, approach sector looks clear, runway 27 is identified We got fuel: Basically nothing, but 98% on the battery charge Runway is now becoming clear “H-YE, lineup and departure RWY27” Okay, yes, ready? Ready! So, let’s see how that works So there is more than 50 (kW), right airspeed is alive, engine instruments in the green I got 50kts rotation speed Wow, that climbs like nothing! 60 kts for climbout That’s crazy performance! So, we’ve got the safe altitude now, time to retract the flaps, right? -Yeah Flaps up Okay, and you’ll reduce to 48 (kW) 48 right? Yes, it’s end of green Yup, you have to know there is a lag because of the filters so, yah, you have to wait a little okay Alright And then it’s 75 the best climb speed Vy And we’re starting the left turn there, to stay in the pattern which is 3300 feet The climbout performance is impressive if you imagine that it’s only 80 horsepower, but it’s I think like any car with an electric motor that there the power sets off and you have Yeah, it’s immediate, the torque is immediately here and it climbs very well [MUSIC] And the noise is really significantly lower in the plane as well, not only outside, but in the plane as well compared to a normal combustion engine The view out of the windows is amazing because of the low windows Absolutely amazing! So I’m not sure if you, viewers, can see we got now the minutes time ticking up there because we obviously reduced the engine power so we got now at least… about 40 minutes there remaining nice little cruise setup, gives us 90kts of cruise speed which is amazing if you think that we’re only using basically 45 horsepower Now we are in the training are so feel free to experience the plane, do whatever you want If I pull back to idle, will the engine actually quit or will it still windmill? I guess it’s still gonna, It will windmill, because, you know, the electric engine, there is no gearbox, nothing, it’s rotating free so, if you have blowing wind, it will windmill However, it has to be said that the recuperation is not active yet So in the future there will be also a braking force from the propeller that actually generates electric power going back to the batteries so recuperation So, first thing I’m gonna do is go back to idle and discover the gliding ratio What’s best glide (speed) here? 70 So let’s keep the nose up a little Because you said before the flight that the gliding angle will be more like a sailplane and less like a – It’s not a sailplane however it’s still 1:15, the glide ratio A lot better than, I think a Cessna C172 is 1:9 or something – The crucial thing for electric flight is the lift to drag ratio, you have to keep the consumption as low as possible Clean stall in idle configuration We will experience the new “gadget I call it gadget – The stickshaker there You mentioned… It’s like in a Boeing 777 actually, it’s crazy Let’s find out then So we got… there’s the stick shaker So shall I recover already? – No no, go back, you can go all the way back – All the way to the buffeting then
But you definitively feel the – This is stall clean This is stall clean? Wow There’s not much buffeting but obviously you would recognise as soon as the stick shaker is going So lets recover there So we turn right right here because there is the the circuit of “Gruyeres” Yup, clear, to the right side It’s really uneventful, the stall there – Absolutely But it’s good to have the stick shaker because the buffet is not too recognisable -True, true So what is also special to Pipistrel aircraft is, because of the big wings, the wingspan and also due to the flaperons when you’re flying low it needs quite a lot of foot, so there is some adverse yaw We will experience that, when we’re back at 4000 We will go back to landing configuration 60kts, and then we will make a shallow turn -Yep You can already go for Flaps 1 and Flaps 2 – Yep This is landing configuration 60 kts right? – And now you need some power to keep it at 4000 And now you can make a 360° at 65 knots – Okay You see immediately where the ball is going – Yah, it needs, definitely needs some left foot there Now the airspeed is dropping, I’m climbing But this is one phase of the aircraft and the other characteristic is that at the higher speed basically you don’t need any foot Maybe you want to do a steep turn? Yup, let’s try that That’s 45 degrees there, the little dash? Yup, this one here is 45 – Yeah, exactly So we try the 45 first You will need about 30 kW – Okay, let’s put that in Clear to the left there Rolling in More left foot And this is also a nice gadget, here you have the g-meter Woow Haha, so need oh, that’s a bit too much, descending there – Yah, around 1.4 (g), this is typically for 45° – Yup You tend to look at the instrument with these funny gadgets Instead of outside 😀 “H-YE joining begin of downwind 3700 ft descending” We’re definitely high there So let’s reduce further to You see it is a good glide – Yeah, it is a good glide, you barely get rid of the speed there once you’re too high And one touch-and-go should be fine with the battery? No problem, with this (charge) you do another 4 circuits if you want – Oh wow, crazy And final power setting is gonna be below 10 kW? Ah, it’s basically idle – Idle, ok Ya, you need to work with the foot So we go “flaps 1” after touch-and-go right? – Right Go for the aiming point Throttle is back to idle You know what… Let’s go around – Okay! Your choice. It would have been fine, but, of course, it doesn’t want to go down – Yup… Right, so flaps 1 is set, target speed is 70 about It glides, huh… ? It glides, crazy, there was a bit of thermals there with the fields, and, uhm, that didn’t help either but yeah, you really got to get rid of the speed a little earlier there So the house with the red roof, the big one there…? – No, the red roof, the red roof here in front – Ya ya, okay, we go around that Anyway, you got your – Yep, foreflight running there Which is perfect – What are you using, Skydemon or, I actually used both of them, I did a video where I compared both of them side by side
but they’re both great What are you using? – Skydemon Skydemon, okay [On frequency: “H-KG, overhead, will join downwind 27 behind traffic on downwind”] – Is in sight “Traffic in sight, H-YE” “H-YE, turning final runway 27” We’re aiming for 60, right, not 65? – 60 is final speed Slightly low Aiming point Going to idle a bit earlier this time let it go down perfect! So, let’s make this full stop then? – Okay So, thanks for the ride! – Thank you Marc, it was absolutely amazing was a big, big pleasure to be here thanks so much for letting me fly your brand new, first certified plane here and… yah, I’m looking forward to see the progress and the news I’ll be getting from Pipistrel in the future and we’ll see how it works out with the with the flight schools here in Switzerland – Great, great And, I’m glad you enjoyed it Happy to have you here anytime for another flight! Thank you Marc, thanks, amazing! – Pleasure So guys, I’m now back home here in the office time for a huge shoutout to Marc and AlpinAirplanes for the awesome day I really enjoyed the flight, it was an awesome experience for me You’ll of course find the links to Marc’s homepage down in the video description below It’s also worth mentioning that this very airplane that I flew in today will be taken onto a world record electric flight in only a couple of days I think The team involved will try to break 7 world records with this project, you’ll also find their link down below Now guys I have to say I’m really curious to hear what you think about this video, about the plane, about electric flight in general some will of course argue that 50 minutes flying time plus a little reserves is not practical for cross-country flying Well to be fair, Marc said that this is not supposed to be used for private, cross-country trips and I guess it will take a couple of more years until batteries will allow for significantly more flying time in the air Remember, unlike electric cars that I mentioned in the beginning you can’t just put in literally a ton of batteries because unlike a car you want a plane to actually fly The Velis has been designed for flight training operations for pattern flying, for practicing take-offs and landings and getting out to the practice area like we did today And I think Pipistrel might actually have a commercial success with this plane because, if you think about it, the main demand in GA, in the GA-market in the past years has been for trainer aircraft Of course, COVID-19 will most likely have an impact on that demand as well But I still think, that this could be the plane many future pilots will learn to fly on Now as I said, I want to know your opinion, please leave a comment down below and tell me what you think on this topic Please also don’t forget to hit the thumbs up button and subscribe to my channel, it really does mean a lot to me to see this channel grow Anyway, that’s it for this video, you guys stay safe thanks for watching all the way to the end and many happy landings out there!