Australian island may become setting for electric air race 

Green Aerolease

Australian electric aircraft operator FlyOne Sustainable Aviation wants to organize an all-electric air race on a tiny island off the coast of Western Australia. 

The organizers are still at the planning stage. However, if the race was to go ahead then battery powered Pipistrel Velis electric aircraft would be flying competitive circuits all over Rottnest Island, a tiny low-lying islet located opposite the city of Perth. 

FlyOne Sustainable Aviation

The initial plan for this competition sees the aircraft flying four different runs, with specific GPS-embedded waypoints and “height gates” along a circuit. Participants will be measured for either speed or energy efficiency and be given a number of points at the end of each of circuit. 

The first round is expected to focus on energy efficiency. The judges will check battery levels at the start and end of the circuit and the aircraft that flies more efficiently will receive the most points. 

The next two stages will see the aircraft flying the same circuit again in each direction but looking to go as fast as possible. The organizers expect pilots to engage in 4G turns and -2G in dives and to reach speeds of more than 220 km/h. The aircraft that flies the fastest will receive the most points during these stages.  

The final round will focus once again on efficiency but will apply a 1.5 multiplier to the points obtained, therefore allowing for potential last-minute surprises in the classification. 

FlyOne Sustainable Aviation currently operates three Pipistrel Velis aircraft and five charge nodes in Australia. The company sees this initiative as a way to promote the cause of electric aviation and revive sports aviation in the country.  

“The sport aviation category has been dwindling due to the high cost, high noise and high emissions of the traditional propulsion system used for air racing. But the Electric Pipistrel Sport Aircraft offers a new way of skyracing that avoids all the above drawbacks” FlyOne Sustainable Aviation founder, Korum Ellis, told AeroTime.  

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