Elec­tric air­craft man­u­fac­tur­er Pip­istrel has achieved type cer­ti­fi­ca­tion for its bat­tery-pow­ered Velis Elec­tro from the Euro­pean Union Avi­a­tion Safe­ty Agency (EASA).

The Sloven­ian com­pa­ny suc­cess­ful­ly demon­strat­ed the air­craft achieves the high­est lev­els of safe­ty, and is the cul­mi­na­tion of many years of inten­sive research and sev­er­al suc­cess­ful award-win­ning elec­tric air­craft mod­els, which it has been devel­op­ing since 2007.

Ivo Boscarol, founder and CEO of Pip­istrel Air­craft, said: “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. The engine, which Pip­istrel type cer­ti­fied sep­a­rate­ly, is also avail­able to oth­er air­craft OEMs.

“For Pip­istrel, this achieve­ment injects addi­tion­al moti­va­tion for the future eVTOL and mul­ti-seat hydro­gen-pow­ered projects. Pip­istrel is espe­cial­ly thank­ful to all our cus­tomers for their con­fi­dence in our prod­ucts, which allows us to con­tin­ue devel­op­ing these inno­v­a­tive air­craft.”

Con­ceived as a fun­da­men­tal part of the Velis Train­ing Sys­tem, the Velis Elec­tro was designed to be sim­ple to oper­ate and main­tain, with­out com­pro­mis­ing safe­ty. Employ­ing Pipistrel’s type cer­ti­fied elec­tric engine, the Velis Elec­tro deliv­ers pow­er instant­ly and with­out hes­i­ta­tion – using a sim­pli­fied user inter­face in a cock­pit that main­tains the same look-and-feel of its con­ven­tion­al­ly pow­ered sib­lings.

The reduced num­ber of mov­ing parts dra­mat­i­cal­ly decreas­es main­te­nance costs and the risk of mal­func­tions is fur­ther min­imised thanks to its built-in con­tin­u­ous health-mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem. This enhanced reli­a­bil­i­ty allows the Velis Elec­tro to have more than dou­ble the lifes­pan of pow­er­train ele­ments in com­par­i­son to the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion of elec­tric aero­planes.

The rev­o­lu­tion­ary pow­er­train is entire­ly liq­uid-cooled, includ­ing the bat­ter­ies, and demon­strat­ed the abil­i­ty to with­stand faults, bat­tery ther­mal run­away events, and crash loads as part of the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process.

The over­all result of all these break­through inno­va­tions is a dras­tic reduc­tion in the oper­at­ing costs, sig­nif­i­cant­ly con­tribut­ing to the afford­abil­i­ty of pilot train­ing.

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.

“It should also be not­ed that this inno­v­a­tive prod­uct was, despite the many chal­leng­ing aspects, cer­ti­fied in less than 3 years, show­ing the excel­lent work per­formed by Pip­istrel and the EASA teams.

Final­ly, it is worth men­tion­ing that the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion team was com­posed of EASA staff, but includ­ed experts from the Swiss and French author­i­ties, in order to pre­pare and facil­i­tate the entry into ser­vice of the Velis Elec­tro in these two coun­tries.”

Mr Pao­lo Romag­nol­li, Head of Engi­neer­ing at Pip­istrel, high­light­ed the tech­ni­cal excel­lence. He said: “The Velis Elec­tro project has been one of those engi­neer­ing chal­lenges we like at Pip­istrel.

“EASA Type Cer­tifi­cate is an uncom­pro­mised affir­ma­tion of the safe­ty of the design. Hav­ing achieved this with a rel­a­tive­ly small team is proof that young, tal­ent­ed, and moti­vat­ed pro­fes­sion­als can bring inno­va­tion into real­i­ty. Com­plet­ing the work nobody else has ever done before makes us all very proud of being mem­bers of this engi­neer­ing team.”

Pic­ture cred­its: Pip­istrel