Nation’s First Production Electric Aircraft Take Flight
April 17, 2018
Fresno, CA – CALSTART, in partnership with the cities of Reedley and Mendota, today are launching the Sustainable Aviation Project; the nation’s first production all-electric aircraft project designed to develop pilot training opportunities using zero emission electric airplanes. Funding for the project was provided by the Fresno County Measure C through the Fresno County Rural Transportation Authority.
The four, two-seat electric aircraft are able to fly for 60 minutes between charges with 30-minute reserve. The typical flight training session lasts 60 minutes. CALSTART and the two city partners is installing electric chargers at four regional airports in Fresno County to support the aircraft operations.
Using electric aircraft in this application will reduce both air and noise pollution. Small aircraft typically used in pilot training operate on gasoline engines using leaded fuel.
The San Joaquin Valley is one of the nation’s leading centers for pilot training, with prospective pilots coming from all over the world, particularly Asia, for flight training.
“We are proud to be partnering with the cities of Mendota and Reedley to launch this first of its kind program in the nation. This project will not only help improve regional air quality, it will help catalyze the rapidly emerging zero emission aircraft sector,” said Joseph Oldham, the Director of CALSTART’s San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation Center. Oldham, a pilot, identified the concept and helped build the program. The California Energy Commission provided seed funding for the San Joaquin Valley Clean Transportation Center.
Once the training program using the electric aircraft is fully developed, it will be targeted at residents and disadvantaged youth from the region.