Industry EASA certificates Pipistrel Velis Electro as first electric aircraft

With its Velis Electro, Pipistrel has obtained the first ever type-certificate for an electric aircraft by EASA.

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The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued the first-ever type-certificate for an electric aircraft. The authority granted the certification for the Pipistrel Velis Electro. The company has been working closely with the EASA to get the battery and engine certified.

This certification is a new milestone in the development and implementation of fully electric aircraft into the aviation world. Pipistrel described this as the “beginning of a new era”. The Velis Electro delivers power instantly without input-lag.

The aircraft has a built-in health-monitoring system that leads to enhanced reliability. A reduced number of moving parts also decreased maintenance costs and the risk of malfunctions. In comparison to the previous generation of electric aircraft, the Velis Electro has more than double the lifespan.

Pipistrel has developed the aircraft for over 13 years now and is also demonstrating a new powertrain, which is liquid-cooled and includes the batteries. Throughout the testing phase, the company demonstrated the ability of it to withstand faults, battery thermal runaways or crash loads. These tests were part of the certification process as well.

Mr Ivo Boscarol, founder and CEO of Pipistrel Aircraft commented: “The type certification of the Pipistrel Velis Electro is the first step towards the commercial use of electric aircraft, which is needed to make emission-free aviation feasible. It is considerably quieter than other aeroplanes and produces no combustion gases at all [...] It confirms and provides optimism, also to other electric aircraft designers, that the Type Certificate of electric engines and aeroplanes is possible.”

Mr Dominique Roland, Head of the General Aviation Department at EASA, added: “For EASA, the type certification of this aircraft marks a significant dual milestone: on 18th of May 2020 we type certified its engine as the first electric engine – now we have followed up with the first type certification of a plane flying that engine. This was a truly ground-breaking project which has yielded many learnings for the future certification of electric engines and aircraft, undoubtedly a growth area in coming years in line with the aims of environmental protection.”

Pipistrel is now set to deliver the first 31 Velis Electro aircraft to customers in seven different countries.

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