Insert ‘Top Gun’ Reference Here

Electric flight training program, other aviation news in growing sector

One half of the Solar Impulse team that was first to circumnavigate the globe in an electric/solar-powered airplane in 2016, Andre Borschberg is a renowned aviator. His current project, H55, is a training-based program that debuts this Friday in Switzerland. A press conference unveiling the H55 flight trainer and the accompanying program will run Friday from 10:00 AM to 12:00 AM at Switzerland’s Sion Airport and can be streamed on YouTube. Intended for flight schools and pilot training, this fully electric two-seater airplane is manufactured by BRM Aero and powered by H55’s electric propulsion system.

You might recall an item about electric planes in last week’s Direct & Current newsletter, as well: WEG’s partnership with a Brazilian airplane manufacturer, Embraer. Add that to the list of prominent electromechanical and industrial companies who are active players in the market, and it may be time to start taking the technology seriously. Siemens announced a similar partnership with an electric aerospace company just last month.

“Electric propulsion has created the world of drones, and now it will do the same for clean and quiet aviation” Borschberg said in an e-mail to EA this week.

The technology used is derived from Solar Impulse, the first electric airplane to have flown around the world in 2016 and corresponding foundation for renewable energy founded by Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard. BRM Aero is part of the Bristell family of aerospace models, which are smaller, single-engine planes manufactured in the Czech Republic. This is BRM’s first venture into the electrified market—which is still maturing but has the attention of major companies including Siemens and General Electric.

The press conference will include a detailed presentation of the airplane, images from our first test flight, as well as insights on how H55 is working with airplane manufacturers and companies developing future urban air mobility concepts such as VTOLs and Flying Taxis.

Other news in the world of electric aviation: Cape Air, a small U.S. commuter airline based in Massachusetts’ scenic Cape Cod area became the first to sign on to an electric-powered air fleet of planes from Israeli developer Eviation. The airline currently operates turbo-props and flies short routes from New York City and Boston to the vacation destinations up and down the cape (Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, etc.). Its contract with Eviation is for a “double-digit” number of nine-seater electric planes, the model of which are called “Alice”, CNBC reported.

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