Slovenian aircraft manufacturer Pipistrel is introducing a new series of unmanned aircraft with hybrid propulsion for cargo flights. The Nuuva series of aircraft take-off and land vertically and purely electrically, using a combustion engine for the actual flight.
The top model called Nuuva V300 can carry up to 460 kilograms. According to the manufacturer, the cargo compartment can hold up to three europallets (EPAL). According to an accompanying press release, the aircraft can be easily loaded with a forklift truck. The smaller sibling model V20 has the same architecture, but is designed for light courier services with a payload of up to 20 kilograms. Pipistrel is already taking orders for the new Nuuva series. The first customers can expect to receive the V20 as early as 2021. The first deployments of the V300 are planned for the second half of 2023.
Pipistrel has recently received the first ever type certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for an aircraft electric motor (as well as for the electric aircraft Velis Electro equipped with this motor). This electric motor with the designation E-811 is now also used in the Nuuva family. The V300 is equipped with eight units, powered by batteries, the manufacturer informs. The electric drive is combined with a combustion engine in the fuselage of the VTOL. The entire drive is controlled by an integrated self-monitoring system.
According to Pipistrel, the cargo planes fly autonomously according to a pre-installed flight plan. The digital flight control system allows manual intervention from the ground at the click of a mouse. Compared to conventional helicopters, the V300 is ten times more economical, the aircraft manufacturer emphasises. “The Nuuva family combines the best of the principles of air cargo transport with airplanes and helicopters. Pipistrel wants to stir up the market with these arguments.
As far as the range of the V300 is concerned, the Slovenian company adds the following: With a low cargo weight of around 50 kilograms, the aircraft’s range is increased to up to 2,500 kilometres. The heavier the load, the lower the range. The maximum payload is reached at 460 kilograms. The weight does not affect the V300’s ability to climb vertically to an altitude of up to 8,000 feet, i.e. around 2,400 meters, or to land vertically from this height.
According to the company, the V300’s batteries can now be charged using a charging station created by Pipistrel and Green Motion. As reported, the two companies are aiming to jointly design the charging of electric aircraft as part of a recently agreed cooperation. The goal is to submit the charging technology to EASA for approval.
With reporting by Cora Werwitzke, France.
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