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