Aviation is heading into a new and innovative era with electric solar-powered flight set to revolutionise our perception of aircraft and present a paradigm shift away from petrol driven machines.
In Western Australia, the leader in this exciting field is Electro.Aero, founded by entrepreneur, Joshua Portlock. His company is focused exclusively on commercialising electric aircraft. In 2015, Electro.Aero was signed up to represent the innovative Pipistrel series of electric aircraft in Australia and in July 2016, Sun Flyer further appointed them as its Australian and Asia Pacific representatives to do final assembly, maintenance and establish service centres in this region.
Portlock said, “It is quite an honour to be part of this pioneering project that will revolutionise general aviation, so we are keen to help advance the transition to environmentally sustainable aviation”.
One of the new products in this field, is the large electric powered drone, the Flykart which had its maiden flight testing and presentation at The Electric Aircraft Symposium in May 2016 in San Francisco. This amazing drone can hold a pilot and can be raced hovering just above the ground on a special track designed to keep the drone flying on a set virtual course in space within safe parameters. The races can be witnessed by the general public and can be quite fun said Ecotect architect, Garry Baverstock.
Joshua Portlock, founder of Electro.Aero in Perth at the controls of the Flykart solar drone.
Ecotect Architects have been commissioned to design special airports for the drone racing and the new solar electric aeroplanes which can offer amongst other things; an air taxi service to Rottnest Island. Features of this airport will include cantilevered structures so the planes can taxi underneath the sheltered roof that’s lined with photo voltaic cells to be charged for its return trip to Rottnest.
Airports are considered at Jandakot as the main hub with another in the Northern suburbs. Working at providing alternative electric powered taxi fights to and from Rottnest is Frank Stynman from Electro.Aero. Talks will commence with the Rottnest Island Board soon on what requirements are need for this new taxi service to the Island.
Ecotect Architects, with their new-age airport designs, think it will redefine vertical lift planes for the future with smaller runways. The new aircraft designs will basically need to lift, tilt forward and go. The fees Ecotect will receive for the airport designs will be re-invested back in Electro.Aero. Future meetings with Innovate Australia will focus on the design of these new airports expected to be under way in a year or two.
The Flykart drone and the fun aspect of electric flight it will provide, will help lift the awareness and profile of electric flight and its advantages over petrol driven aircraft.