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Collegiate Aviation Review International




Electric-powered aircraft have entered the market. The arrival of the Pipistrel Velis Electro and other developmental efforts by companies such as Bye Aerospace, Piper, and eViation, have signaled to the aviation community that more electric-powered aircraft can be expected in the coming years. But how useful are they for training pilots in a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved Part 141 collegiate aviation environment? To identify candidate flight courses and lessons, the authors examine flight hour distributions of a one-year window of invoiced flights (N = 52,728), including flight hour data cut-points at 60 minutes (n = 6,050) and 90 minutes (n = 25,439). The data distribution suggests that approximately 11.5% of the candidate flights would fall within a 60-minute expected flight duration, whereas 48% of flights would fall within a 90-minute flight duration. These calculations provide realistic targets for designed minimum flight duration (plus the inclusion of required FAA reserve) in order to be determined a feasible trainer in many high-volume FAA Part 141 training environments. Detailed course-level analysis suggests the Instrument Flight Instructor (CFII) flight course as a potential launch point for electric flight due to the relatively lower flight hour per lesson. In addition to minimum flight duration, other feasibility questions are included in this analysis, such as regulatory requirements, battery duration, aircraft turnaround time, multiple charge-discharge cycles per day, environmental factors, airport charging infrastructure, and maintenance factors. Additional research will benefit this developing area of electric aircraft in flight training environments.



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