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Velis Electro

Electric trainer for a greener future

The Pipistrel Velis Electro resembles many other small single-engine aircraft of European design: It’s a high-wing, two-seat composite airplane.
Photography courtesy Pipistrel
Photography courtesy Pipistrel

The important differences are under the cowling of the Slovenian-made Velis Electro. Here, the 80-horsepower powerplant is a liquid-cooled, 60-kilowatt electric motor powered by six air-cooled lithium-ion batteries. An airplane that doesn’t run on avgas? This is a trainer for a greener tomorrow.

The battery life allows for one hour of flying plus a 30-minute reserve. Then the batteries must be charged for at least 50 minutes.

If you see a Velis Electro or its predecessor, the Alpha Electro, in the United States, you will likely also see an Experimental placard on the aircraft, as it is not yet certified by the FAA. This means that it can’t yet be used for flight training here. The Velis Electro has been certified in Europe, and sales are reportedly brisk. A California flight school is eagerly awaiting certification so that it can start training with four Alpha Electros.

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Jill W. Tallman

Jill W. Tallman

AOPA Technical Editor
AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman is an instrument-rated private pilot who is part-owner of a Cessna 182Q.

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