Michael Coates, American distributor for Pipistrel, shares some pictures and videos of the G4, four-seat, twin-fuselage electric motorglider a “technology demonstrator” for the company and its entry in the Google/NASA/CAFE Foundation Green Flight Challenge, which starts Sunday, September 25 in Santa Rosa, California. The Pipistrel team, headed by Jack Langelann of Pennsylvania State University, is working out Hollister, California’s airport, about 70 miles south of San Francisco and 150 miles from Santa Rosa. The team expects to fly to Charles M. Schulz field on “Friday or Saturday of the this week” for the competition.
Pilot Robin Reid guided the big bi-fuselage craft through its paces and brought back this in-flight video, which shows the visibility is better than one would expect – except of the other fuselage, the nose of which can be seen just under the central propeller.
Coates reports, “Hollister airport has been our base for the last four weeks as we continue to extend the flight envelope for the Pipistrel Taurus G4 aircraft. With almost 50 hours flown in the USA the aircraft has completed its test flight program and is undergoing the final tweaks in preparation for the upcoming cafe challenge.”
Earlier reports noted the considerable size of the “the most powerful electric aircraft currently developed, [with] the most battery capacity on-board and… also the first four-place aircraft to be flown under electric power.” G4’s empty weight is 1065 kilograms (2,343 pounds) with 470 kilograms (1,034 pounds) of this being batteries. Maximum takeoff weight is 1500 kilograms (3,300 pounds), with a payload of 435 kilograms (957 pounds), showing it can carry four full-sized people (239 pounds average).