A Pipistrel Alpha Electro aircraft will leave Parafield tomorrow morning at the beginning of an attempt to break the world reliability record for electric aircraft.
Flown by Eyre to There Aviation Managing Director Barrie Rogers, the aircraft will embark on a seven-day, 18-stop flight around South Australia on a route that will cover 620 nm. The existing record, set in Germany last year, is 405 nm.
"The world record we're seeking to break is basically an endurance record to push the durability and reliability of the aircraft," Barrie said. "We're also hoping to break a couple of other records including fastest point-to-point single flight and fastest climb rate."
The Pipistrel Alpha Electro has a flight endurance of slightly over one hour and a cruising speed of 85 knots, forcing the team to take into account contigencies for factors such as head winds.
Supported by primary sponsor AvPlan EFB, the route for the attempt is Parafield–Balaklava–Snowtown–Port Pirie–Whyalla–Cleve–Tumby Bay–Port Lincoln–Cummins–Lock–Kimba–Port Augusta–Walleroo–Maitland–Ardrossan–Kadina–Jamestown–Gawler–Adelaide Airport, with seven overnight stops along the way.
Rogers will share the flying with Catherine Conway OAM and David Bradshaw, with support from a vehicle carrying recharging equipment and an avgas-powered chase plane.
Eyre to There Aviation has obtained manufacturing rights to the Alpha Electro and plans to build up to 40 aircraft per year, with training organisations the prime market.
"This record attempt with further demonstrate the overall viability of this aircraft," Barrie believes.
The flight will also investigate suitable airfields in SA to host electric aircraft recharging systems with Eyre to There to prepare a report on the potential to be handed to the state government.
Barrie and his team depart tomorrow morning from the Airborne Research hangar at Parafield at 0700.