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Wed, Jan 28, 2015

Pipistrel Updates WattsUp Program

Gives Inside-The-Cockpit Look At The Prototype Electric Trainer

Pipistrel on Monday released a video showing an inside-the-cockpit view of their new WattsUp electric trainer ... a variant of the company's high-wing Alpha trainer.

The video flight was conducted by Tine Tomazic, Pipistrel's Chief Designer.

The video shows the walk-around, demonstrating how the batteries can be swapped out and some details about the electric motor. The video then goes through an explanation of some of the displays in the cockpit and shows taxi, takeoff, and landing.

One of the interesting parts of the video is that the pilot and passenger do not wear headsets, and while there is some discernible propeller noise in flight, the two on board are able to converse at a mostly-normal level. "It's like a washing machine in flight," said Tomazic. "It's my favorite washing machine."

Pipistrel claims a one-hour endurance for the airplane on a single charge, or enough for about six patterns and touch-and-goes. The CAFE foundation says that in they can double that endurance, they can have an airplane that is practical for more than just in-the-pattern training, and with the 5X batteries that are being developed using Department of Energy grants in the U.S., the WattsUp could gain much wider acceptance around the world.

The price of the plane is set at about $112,000. The CAFE Foundation postulates that the current slump in gas prices may make the plane less attractive, but "when the price of gas rises again," the WattsUp will be an attractive option for flight training.

(Image from YouTube video)

FMI: www.pipistrel-usa.com, Video

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