The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has awarded the world's first certification for an electric aircraft to operate, in what the regulator hailed as a major step forward in battery powered flights.
EASA announced that it had completed its type certification for the Pipistrel Velis Electro, a two-seater aircraft capable of up to 80 minutes of flight time, built by an aerospace company based in Slovenia.
EU news kiosk EurActiv reports that the Pipistrel is powered by an electric motor powered by two battery packs and can carry up to 600kg.
The refueling time varies between 40 and 70 minutes, making it suitable for its intended role as a training aircraft.
"This is the first step towards the commercial use of electric aircraft, which is necessary to make emission-free aviation viable," said Pipistrel Aircraft CEO Ivo Boscarol.
"It is considerably quieter than other aircraft and does not produce any combustion gases at all," added Mr. Boscarol.
"It confirms and gives optimism, also to other designers of electric aircraft, that the Type Certificate of electric motors and aircraft is possible," he said, adding that the engine is available to other aircraft builders since it was certified separately from plane.
EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky called it "an exciting development", adding that the Pipistrel will be the first of many electronic aircraft that his agency will certify "as the industry seeks new technologies to reduce noise and emissions. and improve the sustainability of aviation ”.
EurActiv reports that the agency was able to complete its work in three years thanks to close collaboration with the Slovenian company.
EASA said the experience had improved its own understanding of how batteries and electrical systems work on board aircraft.
France's government gave e-aviation a big boost earlier this week when it unveiled its € 15 billion aerospace aid package, which includes a € 1.5 billion research and development fund aimed at developing new forms. of fueling airplanes.
Under the plan, France's aerospace sector, which includes Airbus, the industry powerhouse, should work to bring a zero-emission aircraft into service by 2035, powered by hydrogen or more sustainable fuels.
It also sets the goal of developing a regional aircraft that can be powered by hybrid electric motors, better suited to the shorter distances involved in short-haul travel.