Adelaide company Eyre to There Aviation has signed a memorandum of understanding with Pipistrel to build Alpha Electro aircraft in Australia.
The announcement made yesterday said the company would be the first electric aircraft manufacturer to be based in this country, with plans to build up to 100 aircraft annually.
Eyre to There Managing Director, Barrie Rogers, said he believed the time is right to introduce the aircraft to Australia as a flight trainer.
“Electric aircraft are cheaper to buy, cheaper to run, are significantly quieter than conventional aircraft and don’t rely on fossil fuels," he said. "and they are ideally suited for short-range flight training activities.
“The one thing that has previously hindered the development of electric aircraft compared with, say, electric vehicles, has been the weight of the battery. We believe we’re now at the stage where technological advances have reduced the battery weight to a point where electric aircraft are now commercially viable in Australia."
Initially, Eyre to There will import 15 complete aircraft from Pipistrel for demonstration and training purposes before starting their own production line.
“There are more than 250 registered flight schools in Australia using more than 3400 training aircraft," Barrie added. "Roughly 25% of flight training covers the beginner phase which involves circuit training for take-offs and landings as well as training in close proximity to an airfield. Electric aircraft are perfectly suited for this task."
Powered by a 60 kW electric motor, the Alpha Electro has an endurance of one hour plus a 30-minute reserve, a cruise of 85 KTAS and a range of 75 nm.