|Ivo Boscarol, Chairman|
Number of employees
Pipistrel d.o.o Ajdovščina is a Slovenian light aircraft manufacturer established in 1989 by Ivo Boscarol and based in Ajdovščina. Its facilities are located in Ajdovščina, Slovenia and near the town of Gorizia, Italy. By June 2017, Pipistrel had produced more than 1500 aircraft.
Due to legal restrictions imposed by the Yugoslavian government during the 1980s, the first aircraft was flown secretly in the evening, between dusk and dark. The flying times and triangular shape of the hang-glider style wings earned the aircraft the nickname "bats" which was adopted by the company naming themselves after the Latin word for bat, pipistrellus.
Initially Pipistrel produced only powered hang gliders, designed by Ivo Boscarol, who produced experimental ultralight trikes with a group of his friends as a private enterprise starting in the mid-1980s. The first serially-built ultralight trike, the Basic, was built in 1989, so the company counts this as the official beginning of Pipistrel, although the first mention of the brand name appeared in 1987. Thirty-two examples of the Basic were sold. The Plus was added to the line in 1990, the Spider in 1992 and Twister in 1998. The Spider was marketed in Europe in the early 2000s by Flight Team UG & Company AG of Ippesheim, Germany. During the company's first ten years in operation, the trike models were exported to more than 30 countries in Europe and Africa, with almost 600 units were produced. The production of trikes was discontinued in the early 2000s.
In 1992 the company was officially registered as Pipistrel d.o.o. on 18 November 1992, with Vida Lorbek as the first manager.
In the mid-1990s, when composite materials became more widely used, the company moved from the production of powered hang-gliders to ultralight aircraft that resemble full-sized airplanes. One of the early models, the Sinus, was the first serially-built ultralight made out of composite materials.
In the years 2007 and 2008 Pipistrel claimed two consecutive victories at NASA Centennial Challenges. In 2007 Personal Air Vehicle challenge, the modified aircraft Pipistrel Virus, owned by Vance Turner and piloted by Pipistrel's general distributor for USA Michael Coates, won most of the categories. In 2008 similar results were achieved by the team at "General Aviation Technology" challenge.
In August 2012, Pipistrel was hit by a brief week-long import ban issued by the Federal Aviation Administration. Pipistrel had opened a factory in Italy to benefit from the country's bilateral agreements with the United States. During a routine check, the FAA was unable to locate Pipistrel's Italian factory on Google Earth and banned the import of some of Pipistrel's products.
On 12 October 2015 Pipistrel won an international tender issued by the Indian Ministry of Defence, to supply 194 Pipistrel Virus SW 80 trainers to the Indian Air Force, Indian Navy and National Cadet Corps.
In 2007 an electric version of the Taurus was released, the world’s first fully electric 2-seat aircraft and the first electric motor-glider to achieve serial production. In 2008 Popular Science magazine listed Taurus Electro among Ten Best Innovations of the year in the Aviation&Space category.
In July 2015, Siemens, provider of the Dynadyn 60-kilowatt motor used in the Alpha Electro trainer, warned Pipistrel that it should not use its motors for overwater flights, just as Pipistrel was about to launch a historic electric-powered flight across the English Channel and back. As it turns out, Airbus was preparing exactly the same Louis Blériot-like exploit, with a plane powered by a motor also provided by Siemens, and it was speculated that Siemens was pressured by Airbus.
In February 2016, Pipistrel ran the most powerful hybrid electric powertrain in aviation to date, as a part of the project HYPSTAIR. The EU funded the Hypstair program: a Pipistrel Panthera mockup received a serial hybrid-electric powertrain, ground testing a 200-kW motor driven by batteries only, by a 100-kW generator-only and by both combined. The Hypstair program is followed by Mahepa project from 2017, EU-funded over four years. Panthera ground testing is planned for 2019 before flight tests in 2020.
On 29 September 2016 the world’s first four-seat passenger aircraft powered by a zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system accomplished a successful first public flight. Pipistrel was one of the partners in the "HY4" project. The dual-fuselage, battery-powered Taurus G4 received a DLR hydrogen fuel cell powertrain to fly as the HY4, with hydrogen tanks and batteries in the fuselages, fuel cells and motor in the central nacelle. Partners are German motor and inverter developer Compact Dynamics, Ulm University, TU Delft, Politecnico di Milano and University of Maribor. Ground and flight tests should follow those of the hybrid Panthera a couple of months later.
- Pipistrel 801 eVTOL
- Pipistrel Alpha Trainer
- Pipistrel Apis
- Pipistrel Apis-Bee
- Pipistrel Apis Electro
- Pipistrel Basic
- Pipistrel Panthera
- Pipistrel Plus
- Pipistrel Sinus
- Pipistrel Spider
- Pipistrel Taurus
- Pipistrel Taurus Electro
- Pipistrel Taurus G4
- Pipistrel Twister
- Pipistrel Virus
- Pipistrel Virus SW
- Pipistrel WATTsUP (Electric Trainer)
Awards and records
- In 2004, the Sinus accomplished a record-breaking flight around the world, the first ever ultralight aircraft to do so, flown by a Slovenian pilot, Matevž Lenarčič.
- 2007 NASA Centennial Challenges Personal Air Vehicle Challenge in 2007
- 2008: General Aviation Technology Challenge
- In December 2007, the aircraft Taurus electro took off as the world’s first fully electric 2-seat aircraft. It was named as one of the most important innovations in 2008 by the American magazine Popular Science. In 2010, it won a gold medal at the Biennial of Industrial Design.
- 2011: CAFE/NASA/Google Green Flight Challenge for energy-efficient aircraft with its four-seater electric plane Taurus G4.
- 10 FAI world records.
- Or 1989... --> "Pipistrel Produces 800th Airplane From Sinus/Virus Family". Avweb.com. 16 June 2016. Retrieved 2016-01-07.
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- "Top 100 Innovations of 2008". popsci.com. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
- "Wittman Regional Airport Sees First Flight For Taurus G4". Aero-News Network. 12 August 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
- Paur, Jason (8 August 2011). "Electric Airplane Has 4 Seats, Two Fuselages, One Big Motor". Wired. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
- Thomas A. Horne (7 July 2015). "Siemens denies e-motors to Pipistrel". Aopa.org. Archived from the original on 2016-09-14. Retrieved 2016-07-01.
- Stephen Pope (9 July 2015). "Airbus vs Pipistrel: An Electrifying English Channel Race". Flyingmag.com. Retrieved 2016-07-01.
- "Hybrid Electric Aircraft Motor Powers Up". Flyingmag.com. 19 February 2016. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
- "Hybrid Electric Powertrain Powers Up For The First Time". Aeronews.net. 20 February 2016. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
- Graham Warwick (Aug 7, 2018). "European Project To Benchmark Hybrid-Electric Propulsion". Aviation Week & Space Technology.
- "Zero-emission air transport – first flight of four-seat passenger aircraft HY4". hy4.org. 29 September 2016. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
- "HY 4 - Zero-emission passenger flights". Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics. 26 November 2015. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
- Bertorelli, Paul (11 June 2019). "Pipistrel Unveils 801 eVTOL". AVweb. Archived from the original on 12 June 2019. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
- "Pipistrel Virus The Big Winner At PAV Challenge". EAA News. 15 August 2007. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
- "Pipistrel Team Again the Big Winner in NASA GA Technology Challenge". EAA News. 13 August 2008. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
- Steitz, Dave & Anderson, Janet (3 October 2011). "NASA Awards Historic Green Aviation Prize". NASA. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
- "Pipistrel Apis/Bee". Pipistrel company website. Archived from the original on 29 February 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
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