NEBOair, a UK-based electric transport company, announced this week that Pipistrel’s Velis Electro has received UK CAA certification. The company plans to use the all-electric, two-seat airplane primarily for sightseeing flights and flight training, but also for its “micro airline” operations, transporting one customer at a time between London and the British Midlands. NEBOair representative Kerry Wilmot described the plans as a viability study. NEBOair is currently operating a Pipistrel Alpha and a simulator for flight training.
With the UK’s transition away from the European Union, the UK certification process was an additional lengthy step for NEBOair to start operating the Velis. Wilmot said the COVID-19 pandemic has added further time to the plans and the company is now working on getting insurance for the airplane, a process that couldn’t begin until the certification was complete. NEBOair looks forward to begin operating its Velis soon. The company is also working on implementing a network of charging facilities in the UK.
Pipistrel’s Velis Electro became the first all-electric airplane to receive EASA certification in June 2020. It is an electric version of the company’s two-seat Virus. The Slovenian company has delivered more than 1,000 airplanes in the Virus/Sinus family. Pipistrel filled the Velis version with its own equipment, including a Pipistrel E-811 electric motor that spins a composite, fixed-pitch propeller also produced by Pipistrel. With separate certification, the motor is available to other OEMs.
The liquid-cooled batteries, which have a capacity of 24.8 kWh, are also produced by Pipistrel. The batteries are separated—on up front and one behind the cabin. In case of a malfunction they automatically disconnect from the system, and each one is capable of powering the airplane for climb and cruise. The health of the electric-motor system is monitored with the company’s EPSI 570 display. The Velis comes with several light aircraft avionics options.
Pipistrel has already delivered several Velis airplanes, the first of which went to Swiss AlpinAirPlanes—a Pipistrel dealer, maintenance provider and flight training facility. Pipistrel reports that it has delivered about 60 Velis models as of press time.