I’m (most probably) the 4th person in Aotearoa to get a taxi around an airfield in a 2-seater Pipistrel Alpha Electro electric plane. And the future of aviation is very, very quiet.
Imagine doing your pilot training in an ePlane. No worries about the price of Avgas! Pending CAA approval, that may be a reality very soon for Gary Freedman’s Electric Air. The range will be somewhat limited initially for cross country flying, particularly with current infrastructure constraints (you’ll need to re-charge your plane somewhere along your journey). However, it’s an ideal training aircraft. All very exciting, and the beginning of an aviation revolution in our country.
“What is the future of electric aviation?’ asked Anna Kominik from Wisk several hours later at the Christchurch Aerospace Meetup. Indeed. Cora is Wisk’s electric self-flying taxi currently testing in Tekapo with airspace integration trials. This Boeing/Larry Page venture scouted the world for the best location, choosing New Zealand for a number of reasons including our ease of doing business. Cora is a stylish number, rising like a helicopter (vertical take-off and landing capabilities), and flying like a plane. Check out the video of it flying here.
Wisk (formerly Zephyr) is a flagship project for the government’s Innovative Partnerships programme, and has also entered into a MOU with Air New Zealand. NZ will be the company’s first commercial operation as a proof-of-concept, so expect to see this eVTOL air taxi hovering over your local neighbourhood in the near future. Well, once CAA gives the green light.
The future of electric aviation is bright indeed. Move over, Jetsons.