Pipistrel Alpha Trainer
|Artist's concept of the Alpha Trainer|
|Produced||May 2012 - present|
The Alpha was announced at the end of 2011 and production started in 2012.
Design and development
The aircraft was designed to comply with the US light-sport aircraft rules. It features a cantilever high-wing, a two-seats in side-by-side configuration, tricycle landing gear and a single 80 hp (60 kW) Rotax 912UL engine in tractor configuration.
The aircraft is made from composites and features landing gear especially designed for training use. A ballistic parachute is standard equipment along with traditional and cheaper round-dial style flight instruments, rather than a glass cockpit. The design goals include economy of purchase and operation and its initial price of US$85,000 was intended to address moves by Pipistrel's competition in raising prices on their aircraft. In particular the Alpha's price was initially set well below the then-current US$149,000 price announced for the comparable Cessna 162, although by 2014 Pipistrel had raised the price to US$103,000. The fuel consumption is projected to be 2.5 US gallons per hour (9.5 litres per hour).
|Video: Pipistrel Alpha Electro Aero 2015|
|Video: Flying Pipistrel's Electric Airplane|
Pipistrel introduced an electric version called the Alpha Electro in 2015 at a price of 69,000 euros, with technology from the Pipistrel WATTsUP proof of concept design, for short training. It has energy for one flight hour plus reserves, and can recharge in 45 minutes or have its batteries replaced in 5 minutes. Instead of 78 lb (35.5 kg) of fuel, it has 277 pounds (126 kg) of LiPo cells, however the water cooled electric motor weighs 11 kg; much less than the gasoline engine. It has a useful load of 380 lb, whereas a Cessna 152 has between 350-480 lb useful load.
After 38 minutes of flying various manoeuvres, battery charge may be 25%. From the inside, the Electro is very similar to the gasoline-powered version, but from the outside, the Electro is much quieter. Electricity costs are about 1/10 of gasoline.
The Electro is now certified in the USA. In 2015 Pipistrel intended to fly the Electro from France to England two days before the Airbus E-Fan, but was prevented by Siemens. Four Electro aircraft will be used to provide flight training in Fresno, California starting in late 2017 as part of the Sustainable Aviation Project.
- WorldWide Wings - 15 on order for use in the school's locations in California and Florida, United States.
Specifications (Alpha Trainer)
- Crew: one
- Capacity: one passenger
- Wingspan: 34 ft 6 in (10.52 m)
- Fuel capacity: 13 U.S. gallons (49 L; 11 imp gal)
- Powerplant: 1 × Rotax 912UL four cylinder, horizontally opposed, four stroke aircraft engine, 80 hp (60 kW)
- Propellers: 2-bladed Pipistrel custom wood and composite
- Cruise speed: 108 kn (124 mph; 200 km/h)
- Range: 324 nmi (373 mi; 600 km)
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Grady, Mary (30 November 2011). "Pipistrel Promises $83K LSA Trainer". AVweb. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
- Grady, Mary (14 May 2012). "Pipistrel Alpha LSA Trainer Ready To Fly For $85K". AVweb. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
- Tacke, Willi; Marino Boric; et al: World Directory of Light Aviation 2015-16, page 73. Flying Pages Europe SARL, 2015. ISSN 1368-485X
- Grady, Mary (14 April 2015). "Pipistrel Introduces Alpha Electro". avweb.com. Aviation Publishing Group. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
- Bertorelli, Paul (17 June 2015). "An Electric Airplane Virgin No More". avweb.com. Aviation Publishing Group. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
- Bertorelli, Paul (15 March 2015). "Will 2015 See Deliverable Electric Airplanes?". avweb.com. Aviation Publishing Group. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
- Grady, Mary (14 April 2015). "Pipistrel Alpha Electro Aero 2015". AVweb. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
- Lambert, Fred. "First all-electric trainer plane gets airworthiness certification from the FAA in the US". Electrek. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
- Niles, Russ. "Pipistrel Cancels Channel Flight After Siemens Pulls Support". AVweb. Archived from the original on 28 July 2015. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
- "Electric Aviation Made Practical". Retrieved 2017-02-18.
- Grady, Mary (10 April 2018). "Pipistrel Lands Biggest U.S. Order". AVweb. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
- Pipistrel (2011). "Pipistrel introduces a fully equipped training aircraft for under $85,000 US". Retrieved 1 December 2011.
- "Alpha Trainer Technical Data". pipistrel.si. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
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