WattsUp Becomes Alpha Electro – Training Market Warms Up

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

With today’s AVWeb report from Mary Grady at Aero in Friedrichshafen, Germany, the wraps are off the commercial reality that Pipistrel is ready to market its Alpha Electro, a new airplane for the training market.   The production version of the former WattsUp, the airplane’s primary mission is to provide training in the pattern for aspiring pilots.

Details abound in the video, with Tine Tomazic, Chief Engineer for the Slovenian firm, showing Mary the features of the craft.  One of the best features may be its 100,000 euro price tag, well under pricing for many conventionally-powered light sport aircraft that would compete in the trainer market.

Since Aero brings in exhibitors from all over the world and incorporates an E-Flight Expo, one can expect to see the latest developments in electric flight there, all displayed under the motto, “Electrical, Ecological, Evolutionary.“

The Chinese RX1E from Liaoning General Aviation Academy, similar in configuration and slightly lagging in performance to the Electro, is being displayed in the Expo, allowing potential buyers to make reasonable comparisons.

Potential clients size up the RX1E at Aero's E-Flight Expo

Potential clients size up the RX1E at Aero’s E-Flight Expo

With George Bye and the Aero Electric Aircraft Company (A. E. A. C.) having scored an agreement with Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology in Oklahoma, the first 20 delivery slots of the new Sun Flyer electric airplane are reserved for that school.  Another client, Independence Aviation in Denver, Colorado, recently made an advance deposit on an early delivery position for a new Sun Flyer.

In the press release, “Bob Stedman, President/CEO of IA, said the management of IA has been extremely concerned about the rapidly rising cost of learning to fly and the impact on the aviation industry. ‘We applaud the efforts of other companies that are working on giving re-birth to Cessna 152s and 172s, and consider those to be important efforts on their part,’ he said. ‘However, even rebuilding those venerable trainers doesn’t have the impact on training and experience costs that needs to happen. Only the new solar-electric Sun Flyer fully addresses those concerns. IA has great faith in looking at the industry differently, whether it is how personal airplanes are used or how we train today’s pilots. We believe the Sun Flyer is a true game-changer for our industry.’”

George Bye and the staff at A. E. A. C. show off the Sun Flyer prototype

George Bye and the staff at A. E. A. C. show off the Sun Flyer prototype

Writing for Wired Magazine in January, Mary Grady headlined the article, “Electric Airplanes Are the Future of Pilot Training.”  That may be less predictive and more breaking news very soon if current trends continue.

Comments 2

  1. Found price of Alpha Trainer – 69 000 euros. So it’s increase of price almost on 50% for electric one, but still good price tag.

  2. As with electric cars, purchase price is higher, but cost of operation is lower. Flight schools will want to see a reduced total cost of ownership before investing.

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