Electric plane crash-lands into lake in another setback for electric flight

An electric plane has crash-landed into a lake in Norway earlier this week in another blow to the current effort to electrify flight.

Several companies have been working to bring all-electric planes to market over the last few years.

Airbus is building an electric plane prototype with Rolls-Royce and Siemens, and startup Wright Electric is partnering with easyJet to bring an all-electric aircraft to market.

Pipistrel is one of the first to market with the Alpha Electro, an all-electric two-seater trainer plane.

It’s a small two-seat electric trainer tailored to the needs of flight schools. The all-composite body with electric motor and 20 kWh battery packs weights a total of 350 kg and it has a max payload of 200 kg. The company says that the plane can stay in the air for an hour, with an extra 30 minutes in reserve.

We reported on it in more details when it entered production last year.

Norway’s airport operator Avinor has been using the plane to demonstrate electric flight, and during a flight last week, they had to crash-land it into a lake (images via Reuters):

Reuters reported that both the pilot and the passenger managed to escape unharmed:

Norway’s first battery-powered aircraft crash-landed on a lake on Wednesday, in a setback for the country’s aviation strategy, although police said the pilot and passenger both escaped unhurt.

Avinor chief executive Dag Falk-Petersen, who was piloting the plane, said:

I made a mayday call and looked for a place to land. This is not good for the work we do.

The cause of the crash is still unknown.

Despite very few electric planes in operation, it’s the second electric plane crash to happen in just over a year.

Last summer, Siemens’ electric plane prototype caught on fire in the air before crashing and killing both occupants.

Electrek’s Take

This is another blow to electric flight after the Siemens crash, but with any new technology, it’s going to be an uphill battle.

It’s not like fossil fuel-powered planes didn’t have their fair share of crashes, especially at the beginning.

I think those setbacks are going to make the electric flight industry stronger over time. They are going to be able to learn from them and make electric flight more secure.

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