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Green Aviation Takes Off

Updated: Sep 27, 2022

It's not easy being green - particularly if you're learning to fly.

Air travel has been slow to adopt clean energy, but while the next generation of aviators waits for commercial airlines to move away from fossil fuels, it doesn't mean they can't train with lower carbon emissions.

The Velis Electro, the world's only electric plane fully certified in the EU and the UK, is taking off as a greener option for trainee pilots.

Manufactured in Slovenia by Pipistrel, the Velis Electro is a two-seater light aircraft designed for flight schools. The single-engine aircraft can fly up to 12,000 feet and has a maximum speed of 98 knots (113 mph). It has a flight time of around 50 minutes (plus reserve) per charge, with two batteries that take up to two hours to completely recharge.

Tine Tomažič, chief technology officer at Pipistrel Slovenia, says that while the Velis Electro offers a range of advantages over regular aircraft, a key attraction is that many of the fundamentals remain the same.

"You can literally take this airplane home and use it from day one for whatever you were using other non-electric powered airplanes for before," he tells CNN Business.

As well as producing no carbon emissions in the air, the airplane is quiet - around 60 decibels says Pipistrel, which is about the same as a normal conversation. Tomažič says that as a result, it can fly at much smaller airfields — which are often nearer to built-up areas and closer to prospective pilots - without annoying nearby residents.

Since it was launched in 2020, Pipistrel says it has sold around 100 of the electric planes, priced at €175,000 ($175,500).


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