Training organisation ASL Academy is introducing the electrically-powered Pipistrel Velis Electro to its student pilot fleet at Antwerp.

ASL Academy is the first flight school in Belgium to offer electric flying.

The aircraft have around 1h duration which, it says, is sufficient to teach basic procedures and manoeuvring, including taxiing, communicating with air traffic control, and flying circuits.

“This technology is, of course, still in full development,” says ASL Group chief Philippe Bodson, but adds that it is nevertheless “promising”.

“These electric aircraft demonstrate ASL Group’s commitment to investing in sustainable aviation.”

Co-chief Johan Maertens acknowledges that electric flying remains a “technological challenge” but says innovation is generating rapid progress.

Velis Electro-c-ASL Academy

Source: ASL Academy

Flemish mobility minister Lydia Peeters (centre) flanked by partners and the Velis Electro

Flemish minister of mobility Lydia Peeters states that Antwerp and other regional airports are proving to be suitable test locations for such sustainable technology.

“Arrival of these electric devices gives concrete substance to the [government’s] strategic vision for regional airports,” she adds.

Introduction of the aircraft has been supported by Antwerp airport’s operator, as well as Belgium’s Skeyes air navigation service.

Pipistrel recently disclosed that production of the Velis Electro had reached 100 aircraft. The two-seat high-wing model became the first electric aircraft to secure European Union Aviation Safety Agency type certification when it was approved in mid-2020.