Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum’s Electric Fleet Arrives

TAM’s Aero Squad flight school will be the first in the nation offer training in all-electric aircraft. TAM has recently taken deliver of two brand new Pipistrel Alpha Electro trainer aircraft, which were displayed at AirVenture 2017 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. These aircraft will arrived on August 2, 2017.

Our aircraft getting unboxed and ready for the show
Frequently Asked Questions

 



Home in Compton and fully assembled, awaiting approval from the FAA to take to the skies.




Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How long will the aircraft fly typically in circuits?
Up to 60 min + reserve. For LSA Aircraft the reserve is 20 minutes.

How long will the aircraft fly at cruise/cross-country?
45minutes @18kW and 75 kts IAS

How long does it typically take to charge the batteries with the different chargers?(20%-95% range)

  • 6hrs with 3kW charger
  • 1h 40′ with 10 kW charger
  • 1h 5′ with 14 kW
  • 45 minutes with the 20 kW charger

What are the temperature limitations for flying in cold weather / hot weather?
There is no limitation in the POH. +39 °C ambient air temperature due to battery cooling and airflow for cooling

Will I overheat when I am taxiing in hot weather?
No, not if you follow the POH procedures

If I am not using the aircraft in winter do I need to do anything special to stop the batteries from freezing?
Select “Rest Charge” and keep the operating battery temperature between 5-55°C. Indoor Storage 10-40°C is ideal. If battery storage temperature is below 10°C the battery capacity may decrease

How long will the batteries last, what is their lifespan in years and charge cycles before the batteries drop to 75% of the original capacity?
17 years. 300 to 700 cycles depending on careful operation according to POH.

Can I add extra batteries to get more range when I am flying?
No

How long does it take to remove the batteries for storage?
Less than 5 minutes

How heavy are the batteries and can I swap them over myself?
Each battery pack is 117 lbs (53 kg). Yes, you can remove the pack with no extra help

What is the luggage capacity the aircraft?
There is no luggage compartment. Convenience luggage can be stored in the side pockets on the instrument panel

Can I fly with just one battery in the front so I can carry more luggage in the back?
There is no luggage compartment. You can fly with 1 battery only but you will need to ballast in the back-battery compartment due to CG range reasons and you will only have half of the endurance.

Are there any special maintenance requirements for an electric aircraft?
Electric motor overhaul is 2,000 hrs. (Total life is 6,000 hrs.)

Who can work on the engine for regular maintenance?
There is no regular maintenance on the motor required, the first maintenance requirement is the 2,000-hour TBO service

How long will the engine last and who can do servicing?
The motor lasts 6,000 hrs (2,000 x 3 service series). The producer can perform the servicing

Why are electric aircraft so expensive?
Because you are buying all the fuel upfront with the aircraft purchase (the cost of the batteries) and because of low production numbers when compared to the auto industry

What charger can I take with me in the aircraft so I can go on a trip and recharge from different airports?
At this time, none

Can I use a different charger when I am traveling, perhaps a charger for an electric vehicle?
No. Pipistrel aircraft run a dedicated charger that communicates via proprietary CAN-bus protocol with the main computer and the BMS for optimized charging

What are the chances of an electrical fire?
Extremely remote: Probability is 1 in 100,000,000 or .0000001%

Are there any special precautions taken to stop me getting electrocuted, especially during servicing?
Yes. There is an isolation monitor device built into the airplane. It measures the voltage difference between the two battery packs and prevents the system to power up if this difference is higher than a certain level

What are the volts and amps that the engine runs at?
The motor operates at 325 V and 240 A, and the batteries at 400V. Unless it is really cold, the system will supply full power even with low battery state of charge.

What is the warranty on the electrical propulsion system?
All Pipistrel aircraft have a 2 years / 100 hrs. warranty, whatever comes first

Does the ALPHA Electro have cabin heating system?
No

Who manufactures the motor?
Pipistrel modifies the Emrax motor, adding cooling and other mechanical parts

How much power can you recover while in the pattern?
Theoretically 13%

What kind of batteries are installed?
Lithium ion cells which are made by Samsung. Pipistrel designed the battery box and assembly as well as the Battery Management System (BMS)

Is any sort of hybrid version planned?
No

How can i register the ALPHA Electro today?
It depends on the operating location and the intended use. Please check with your local dealer for information specific to your location.

What infrastructure do I need at the airport for charging?
The charger comes with a prepared and marked supply wire.

Can I use solar panels for charging?
Yes, installed on the roof of the hangar with a proper battery storage unit

Is there the possibility to install solar panels on the wings?
The wing surface is so small that there are not enough benefits, so it can’t be justified until further advances in solar technology are available

 


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