Californians claim record for flying on sunshine

Beam Pipistrel record

Running on fresh air? Nope, sunshine. Californian CleanTech company Beam Global is claiming a world record for the longest flight in a production electric aircraft powered by off-grid, renewable solar energy.

Starting in Fresno, a Pipistrel Alpha Electro aircraft flew 227nm over central California with stops in Madera, Merced, Modesto and Lodi before following the same flight path back to Fresno.

The aircraft was flown by Joseph Oldham, founder and CEO of New Vision Aviation, a non-profit organisation providing residents and youth from disadvantaged communities with the opportunity to experience flight and begin training for careers in aviation.

Beam Pipistrel record

Beam Global’s Desmond Wheatley, left, congratulates with pilot Joseph Oldham after the flight. Top: Beam’s solar charging stand with the Pipistrel

Afterwards, Joseph said, “I’m thrilled we accomplished our record-setting flight. This is a defining summer for sustainable aviation and for establishing the Central Valley as a forward-thinking region for propelling the electrification of aviation ahead at an accelerated pace.

“Our goal with this accomplishment is to raise awareness of the urgent need for more clean transportation options — and show the world what is possible.”

Beam deployed its solar-powered electric vehicle charging equipment at several airports, and in some cases relocated to support the multi-leg flight, demonstrating that airports can support the electrification of aviation without construction, electrical work or large utility charges.

Beam Pipistrel

“This historic world record marks the start of a new chapter for zero emissions aviation while breaking down the barriers to rapid adoption of commercially available clean aircraft,” said Beam Global CEO Desmond Wheatley.

“Our products make airport charging infrastructure available now, ushering in a new level of aviation access for rural and suburban denizens.

“There are around 20,000 public and private airports across the U.S. and we want to put clean, impact free charging infrastructure in all of them.”

Beam Global

New Vision Aviation


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