August 27, 2014
By Thomas A. Horne
Pipistrel, the Slovenian manufacturer of several eco-friendly, electrically powered airplanes, has announced its new two-seat trainer, the WATTsUP. A proof-of-concept design, the WATTsUP is powered by an 85 kW (approximately 113 horsepower) electric motor that weighs just 31 pounds. Its battery pack can be charged in an hour, then produce enough energy to fly for one hour, with a 30-minute power reserve. Climb rate is 1,000-plus fpm, according to Pipistrel.
Pipistrel CEO Ivo Boscarol said, “With the ever-growing cost of fuel, it is time to rethink pilot training. Our solution is the first all-electric trainer. Technologies developed specially for this aircraft cut the cost of training by as much as 70 percent, making flying more affordable than ever before.”
The WATTsUp’s engine was developed by Siemens AG. Siemens Executive Vice President Frank Anton said that the company “is building electric drive systems with the highest power-to-weight ratios for aircraft propulsion.”
What’s more, in the traffic pattern 13 percent of the engine’s energy is recuperated on each approach, a Pipistrel press release asserted. The airplane meets both ASTM and European microlight criteria, and will go on display at the Salon de Blois Airshow in France Aug. 30 and 31.
Pipistrel expects the WATTsUP to go to market in 2015, and sell at a target price below 100,000 euros (approximately $132,000).
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.
Aircraft Power and Fuel,
Chip Yates, who set five electric aircraft world records in 2012, now aims to cross the Atlantic on battery power.
Airbus Group plans to certify production versions of its E-Fan electric twin and has a goal of late 2017 entry into service for the two-seater, the company said in a video from Farnborough International Airshow July 14.
South Carolina pilot Gary Davis barely made it above the Greenville Downtown Airport Class D airspace, though he most likely set a world record doing it.
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