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All-electric battery powered plane arrives in Hartford

The battery-powered plane has been purchased by Phil Smith who is a flight instructor and the owner of Hartford Aviation Technologies of Connecticut.

HARTFORD, Conn. — It might not be the biggest plane on the tarmac at Brainard Airport – it's among the smallest – but the “Pipistrel Alpha Electro” is making the biggest statement. 

The Pipistrel is a battery-powered plane that’s been purchased by Phil Smith who is a flight instructor and the owner of Hartford Aviation Technologies of Connecticut. 

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Smith is betting big on battery-powered planes – hoping to train his students on the 235-thousand-dollar all-electric two-seater. 

“From a training perspective it’s a great opportunity just doing take-offs and landings and as a student pilot one of your main focuses is how to take-off and land. It allows us to conduct flight training at reduced carbon emissions and at a reduced cost,” Smith said. 

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Smith noted that an hour of flight time costs about two to three dollars in electricity.

Lindsey Rutka, a pilot and the owner of Hartford Jet Center is embracing the electric aviation technology at Brainard. 

“It’s green,” said Rutka, “and you don’t have to worry about fuel,” Rutka added.

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 He hopes to refit some areas of a hangar roof at the Hartford Jet Center to solar power for a fully green flying experience. 

“It’s going to be green to green which is going to be great for the environment and the future of our aviation,” Rutka said. 

The Pipistrel, and similar electric aircraft, are currently awaiting more clearance from the FAA.  

At 853 pounds, the Pipistrel can travel 75 nautical miles on a single one-hour charge and can cruise at around 105 knots. 

Rutka and Smith see Brainard as a sort of launch pad for electric aviation technology in the region. 

“This the future of aviation, this is the future of flight training and it’s a very exciting time to see where the technology will take us,” Smith said.

Jimmy Altman is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at jaltman@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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