Sun 'n Fun

Electric Pipistrels Delivered for Sustainability Project

 - April 3, 2018, 1:10 PM

A long-awaited delivery of electric aircraft was completed last month at Fresno Chandler Executive Airport. Four Pipistrel Alpha Electro aircraft, four charging stations, and a Pipistrel X-Alpha simulator arrived to support an initiative called the Sustainable Aviation Project.

Joseph Oldham, director of the San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation Center, developed the idea for the project while working on the deployment of zero-emission buses into public transit fleets. Oldham has been a pilot for more than 40 years and worked with Fresno Chandler Executive Airport on the public-private collaboration to reduce flight training costs through the use of all-electric general aviation airplanes.

A network of charging stations are now available throughout the San Joaquin Valley to support the project’s electric fleet. Charging stations are located at Reedley Municipal, William Robert Johnston Municipal, Fresno Chandler Executive, and Fresno Yosemite International Airports.

The four Alpha Electros were completed and test flown at the factory last December and intended for direct delivery to California. The delivery date of the Pipistrel products was inadvertently delayed, however, due to the shipping company’s incorrect routing that kept the aircraft at sea for three months. Despite the error, the aircraft’s batteries were still found to be holding a 43 to 53 percent state of charge upon delivery. Wing and horizontal stabilizer installation was completed in 10 minutes and the aircraft successfully underwent airworthiness inspections a few days after arrival.

The Pipistrel X-Alpha simulator arrived at Cypress College in Los Angeles, marking the second X-Alpha delivery in the region. The simulator uses a virtual reality headset allowing the pilot a 360-degree view of the cockpit and surrounding landscape.

Pipistrel is exhibiting (Ultralight Static Display 50) this week at the Sun 'n' Fun airshow in Lakeland, Florida.