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A New Zealand Christchurch start-up company called ElectricAir has lunched its first-ever electric plane.
The aircraft is a battery-electric two-seat light sport aircraft manufactured by Slovenian aircraft company Pipistrel and has begun demonstration flights from Christchurch.
The plane is designed as a training aircraft, and it will be available for people who are wanting to experience electric flights and learn to fly in a more sustainable way.
Electric Air founder Gary Freedman says the idea around the aircraft to operate New Zealand’s first electric plan started back in the year 2016.
“I was driving an electric car but flying a petrol plane. It just wasn’t good enough, so I set out to find a solution. On the pretence of a family holiday in Slovenia, I visited the Pipistrel factory and flew in the Alpha Electro. I was hooked and the rest is history,” Gary says.
The mission for the start-up company ElectricAir is to promote the uptake of electric aircraft to reduce the aviation industry’s greenhouse gas emissions and the start-up has also received support from Christchurch City Council’s Innovation and Sustainability Fun and the Christchurch Agency for Energy Trust.
“The battery-electric aircraft is just the type of innovation that the Council wants to support for the city. Aviation transportation is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions and this initiative demonstrates a technology that reduces emissions and provides the opportunity to educate pilots and the community about this exciting new technology” Christchurch City Council Resource Efficiency Manager Kevin Crutchley says.
Christchurch Airport has supported ElctricAir’s project as another part of its electrification and decarbonisation programme.
Image: CC/ Electric Air