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Hi, welcome to another ColdFusion video.
A practical electric plane is something that has been so elusive,
even more so than a practical electric car.
Over the past few months,
I got a chance to spend some time with one of the first commercially available fully electric aircraft
to really see what the state-of-the-art is like right now.
I’ll be sharing my honest thoughts on the benefits and limitations of this technology later in the video.
The Alpha Electro.
What kind of future are we heading towards?
Is it possible that short flights with an electric aircraft will become commonplace?
As highlighted in my uber elevate video,
battery technology is finally starting to improve,
and were just touching the state where a fully electric aircraft has just become feasible for some applications,
mainly flight training and short distance travel.
The aircraft in question is the Pipistrel Alpha Electro.
Founded in 1989,
Pipistrel is a company based in Slovenia that specialises in manufacturing light aircraft,
categorized as a light sport aircraft,
and only weighing 350 kilograms including batteries.
The Alpha Electro is the first fully electric aircraft certified for flight training.
The cost of a new aircraft is about 100,000 US dollars.
On board, there’s a 20-kilowatt-hour battery,
which translates to a flight time of over an hour plus reserves.
This makes flight training the perfect application.
If needed, the batteries can be swapped out in 5 minutes.
The electric motor that powers the aircraft is 60 kilowatts,
and only weighs 11 kilograms.
Because the plane is so light,
it can literally be pushed and dragged around by one person with ease.
I founded a site that still takes some getting used in.
Unlike a regular petrol light aircraft,
which uses 50-year-old engine technology with hundreds of moving parts,
the Alpha Electro has only one moving part,
and hence the aircraft is safer and much easier to fly.
There’s only an on switch and a throttle lever to operate the engine.
Normally, engine operation would be much more complicated with tasks such as mixing fuel on the fly.
The company that got delivery of this aircraft is Electro Aero in Perth, western Australia.
Electro Aero hopes to carry out pilot flight training at a fraction of the cost of regular aircraft.
because there’s no fuel costs and far less maintenance costs and the status quo.
Right now, it cost about $3 per hour to run the aircraft,
and that’s about a tenth of the cost of a fuel engine.
The result cuts the rate of flight training by about $90 per hour
in comparison to a plane like a Cessna 172.
During the first 40 hours of lessons,
an aspiring pilot could save over $1,000.
So now, it was time for the first of these aircrafts to arrive in the southern hemisphere.
Alpha 电动飞机从货箱里运过来 之前在斯洛文尼亚制造
The Alpha Electro came in a shipping container from Slovenia where it had been manufactured.
An aircraft coming in plastic wrapped pieces was certainly something unusual.
And it distinctly reminded me of an unboxing,
which I posted on my Twitter and Facebook as such.
I was there when the plane was being assembled in an aircraft hangar in Jandakot, south of Perth.
Remarkably, the process only took a couple of hours and was pretty painless.
After a quick test flight, it was ready to go.
Electro Aero are the first company in the world to have this aircraft certified,
even before anyone in the United States and Canada.
And that makes this aircraft the very first certified electric plane in the world.
我和Electro Aero的CEO Joshua Portlock坐在一起
I sat down with Electro Aero CEO Joshua Portlock,
and had a chat with him about the aircraft.
So, the Alpha Electro being the first certified electric aircraft in the world,
and we were the first to get that certified.
Electro Aero now is a great opportunity to commercialize electric aviation in the training sector,
where the cost savings are very beneficial to pilots getting their licenses.
长期来看 我们将认证第4 第 5 第6 代飞机
For longer term, we want to certify 4, 5 and 6 seed aircraft,
allowing air taxis to utilize electric proportion.
In an air taxis at the moment, they’re using petrol engine aircraft that are designed for longer flights,
but are only being used for 10 to 15-minute flights.
That means the engines are being started and stopped much more often than they’re normally designed for.
Therefore, there’s much more wear and tear on the engine,
and a lot higher maintenance expense and cycles.
In electric, it doesn’t matter how many times you start and stop the motor.
It’s not having to go through a major thermal cycle every time,
doesn’t have hundreds of moving parts,
which is the one rotating part and direct drive no gearbox.
So, the short hop flights of sub-one-hour are perfect for electric.
The batteries can already do it,
the maintenance is not affected by the thermal cycling like an engine.
A look around the plane.
So, the front battery compartment,
where it stores a 10-kilowatt-hour battery.
as is battery in the front and in the rear.
So, the two batteries combine.
I get just over an hour of flight time,
and it gives us redundancy.
So, if one of the battery’s fails,
the other battery can keep flying the aircraft and give you typically half now,
sort of reserve to bring the aircraft down.
Normally, you’ve got your engine taking up this much space.
But instead, the electric motor only takes up this much space.
It’s quite compact.
It’s a pancake-so-size motor.
The charge point very similar to the Tesla.
The Alpha Electro is fitted with the ballistic parachute
that means that in the event of a control system failure or catastrophic airframe failure
that you couldn’t glide down, because that’s your first choice of safely bringing the aircraft down.
You can pull big red handle,
and it will launch a rocket out of the roof of the airframe,
and pull a parachute out.
And it’s an entire airframe parachute.
So, straps that hold the airframe under these covers.
And it’ll actually be floating down to the ground on that parachute,
and landing safely so that the occupants can safely get out the aircraft.
A quick look inside.
Electro Alpha有EPSI 指电力能源旋转系统
The Electro Alpha has an EPSI, which is an electric power and spin system.
It has a Garmin GPS that’s a capacitive touchscreen.
So, you’ve got your ability to pinch zoom just like a mobile phone.
So, it’s like a modern-day glass cockpit on a nice portable device second unclip from here.
And you can take it home to programming waypoints or flight plans.
When the plane was set up and the hard work was out of the way,
it was time to celebrate.
There were few speeches,
and a Tesla came in for a symbiotic photo opportunity at a glimpse at a possible electric future.
Over the next couple of days,
local news teams came to check out the electric aircraft and take a ride in it.
Those keen interest and genuine curiosity.
Now, to the aviation revolution that’s taken off in Perth,
the world’s first fully electric aircraft has hit the skies,
and its owners believe it’s just a taste of things to come.
This plane is the first of its kind in Australia.
A Perth company has launched a revolutionary electric plane that could change the way we fly.
It could be the future of flight in W.A.
A revolutionary plane that runs on electricity with the power to slash operating costs and fares.
Probably the quietest takeoff you’ve ever heard,
and an electric plane the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere.
So, how is it like to fly inside?
If you’ve taken a flight inside any light aircraft,
it’s basically like that,
but the views are better because the windows are unusually big.
That aside, the main thing you’ll notice is the noise or lack thereof.
It’s a lot quieter than the average petrol plane.
Most of the noise is from the propeller itself,
and the air rushing past the cockpit as you’re flying.
I took the controls for about 30 seconds,
and was surprised at how sensitive it was.
Just a light press from your index finger could have you banking at a healthy angle.
Now that some test flying had been done by some of Electro Aero’s pilots,
it was time for a challenge.
A team was going to attempt the very first cross-country flight in Australia with an electric aircraft.
The team composed of Rob, the pilot,
还有Richard 金融指导 也是飞行员
Richard, the finance director but also a pilot himself,
and me who would be documenting the day’s events.
The plan was for Rob to fly from Jandakot airport
to a rural airport called Dale River, which is about 70 kilometres away.
At Dale River, we would then use a portable generator to recharge the plane.
After this, Rob would make the return journey.
So when the day came, we all met at Jandakot hangar at 7 a.m.
We performed some checks on the charger, and loaded it onto a truck,
and check the weather to see if it was suitable for flying.
From there Rob took off, while Richard and I drove to Dale River airport.
When I arrived at Dale River airport,
I thought it looked more like a patch of abandoned farmland near a highway than an airport.
Regardless, Richard and I would wait for Rob’s arrival.
For safety, the team devised the decision point.
That the decision point comes into play when the batteries at 65%.
If Rob hasn’t flown half the distance at this point,
then it would be best for him to turn back and land.
The main concept is he never went to break through that 30% reserve battery.
There would be nowhere to land in between Jandakot and Dale River,
so this was important.
On the ground, we could track Rob’s flying in real time with an iPhone app,
which I thought was pretty cool.
After a while, we had a visual.
And he touched down shortly afterwards.
I asked Rob about the flight.
And he said that he was worried,
because the plane was climbing too fast due to an unusually strong headwind.
This was a concern as the battery tended to drop quickly under these conditions,
because of the extra power used.
So at this stage, the plan was to recharge the plane using the portable generator.
Unfortunately, for an unknown reason,
the generator couldn’t handle charging at the full current,
and shut down immediately when it was tried.
It was funny, because it was supposed to take this rating.
When at half power, the generator would work for a while before conking out.
It needed to cool down for about half an hour before he could try again.
After a few hours of frustration in the hot sun,
we finally got enough energy into the batteries to make a safe flight back to Jandakot.
And this completed the first cross-country return flight in Australia with an electric aircraft.
And for the truth being told,
this situation vividly highlights the limitations of electric aircraft at the present moment.
For cross-country flies to be more practical in the future,
you wouldn’t want to depend on an old generator,
and you would need a supercharger 3-phase power system readily available,
until this infrastructure is in place and battery energy density improves.
For now, it’s only really flight training that is the optimum use case for electric planes.
I see longer flight applications being about 2 to 5 years away.
So all in all, it’s an interesting state that we are at right now.
We’re definitely at the beginning of something new.
Anyways, that’s going to do it for this video.
And I do have a special treat for you if any if you happen to live in Perth,
or do you want to see the Alpha Electro in person and fly it.
我和Electro Aero 合作拍了这些视频
I’ve teamed up with Electro Aero for this video.
If you used the discount code ColdFusion, you can get $50 off your first flight.
And I’ll leave the appropriate links below.
强调一下 Electro Aero正在做一些非常酷的事
As a side point, Electro Aero is actually doing some other pretty cool things.
One of them is a patented design for electric propulsion systems,
which’s won the companies some big contracts.
So, thanks for watching, guys.
If you’re new to this channel, feel free to subscribe.
Let me know your thoughts on electric aircraft in the comments section below.
This has been Dagogo, you’ve been watching ColdFusion.
Now, see you again soon for the next video.
Cheers, guys. Have a good one.
ColdFusion, it’s new thinking