Joseph Oldham stands next to a Pipistrel Alpha Electro electric plane Photo by Frank Lopez
Written by Frank Lopez
A world record attempt launched from Fresno this morning.
Members of the media were invited to Fresno Chandler Executive Airport to witness the takeoff for the world’s longest solar-powered flight in a production electric aircraft.
This will be the longest flight ever for a production electric aircraft that is powered by renewable energy.
The electric aircraft, the Pipistrel Alpha Electro, is being piloted by Joseph Oldham, founder of Fresno-based New Vision Aviation.
The plane took off from the airport at approximately 6:30 a.m., heading for its next stop at the Madera Municipal airport.
The plane will make several stops over the next few days and finally land in Sacramento on Friday morning, landing back in Fresno on Saturday.
The flight was organized by San Diego-based Beam Global — a clean tech manufacturer specializing in electric vehicle charging infrastructure — to prove that zero emission aviation is possible and here.
“All we care about is showcasing that this technology is here, it’s viable, it works, and it’s the future not just for light aircraft, but for heavy aircraft. We need to get our infrastructure in place to support these aircrafts,” said Oldham.
Desmond Wheatley, CEO of Beam Global was present for the take off of the solar-powered aircraft. He said that the Central Valley region is a prime area for electric aircraft to be utilized.
“We are converting sunlight into electricity,” said Wheatley. “There is lots of free sunlight around here in Fresno so let’s make use of it.