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Two-Seater General Aviation All Electric Aircraft Makes Maiden Flight

August 25, 2014 - Slovenia (Europe) aircraft maker, Pipistrel in partnership with Siemens AG, has developed an all electric two-seater aircraft called WATTsUP and on Friday, the aircraft made its maiden flight.

The company states that it will unveil the aircraft at the Salon de Blois airshow, France, on August 30-31, 2014. Pipistrel expects to bring the final product to the market in 2015 with a target price below 100,000 EUR. 

The company states that every single element of the aircraft has been refined to be lighter, more efficient and more reliable. The 85 kW electric motor only weighs 14kg and is more powerful than the popular Rotax 912 series, typically used on microlights and LSAs. 

The 17 kWh battery pack is dual-redundant and designed to be either quickly replaceable within minutes or charged in less than one hour, thanks to the next generation of Pipistrel's Battery Management technology. The airframe uses proven features from hundreds of Pipistrel's aircraft flying worldwide.

Performance of the WATTsUP 2-seat electric trainer is tailored to the needs of flight schools. Short take-off distance, powerful 1000+ fpm climb, and endurance of one hour plus a 30 minute reserve.

The WATTsUP is optimized for traffic-pattern operations, where 13% of energy is recuperated on every approach, increasing endurance and at the same time enabling short-field landings. Pipistrel’s CEO, Ivo Boscarol, said "With the ever growing cost of fuel it is time to rethink pilot training. Our solution is the first practical all-electric trainer! Technologies developed specially for this aircraft cut the cost of ab-initio pilot training by as much as 70%, making flying more affordable than ever before.


“Being able to conduct training on smaller airfields closer to towns with zero C02 emissions and minimum noise is also a game changer! WATTsUP meets microlight and ASTM LSA criteria, as well as standards for electric propulsion and is already certified in France. More countries will follow soon and we are applying for an exemption with the FAA to allow training operations as an S-LSA. WATTsUP is our 5th electric aircraft project and the second to result in a commercial product." 

Frank Anton of Siemens AG said “Siemens is developing electric drive systems with highest power-to-weight ratio for aircraft propulsion. Only with innovation we can solve the problems of rising fuel costs, rising passenger demand and rising environmental regulations. Innovations used in the WATTsUP will be instrumental in making aviation more sustainable in the long run. As electric drives are scalable, we can expect, that in the future also larger aircraft will use electric propulsion. The world is becoming electric, whether in the air, on land or at sea.”
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