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Island flight school to become first in province with electric training plane

Sealand Flight Ltd. says they will welcome the province’s first fully electric airplane for flight training this year.

The flight school, based out of Campbell River, will acquire a “state-of-the-art” Pipistrel Velis Electro Aircraft at the end of January and start zero emission flying opportunities in February. Sealand says the benefits includes its zero emissions flight with very quiet operation.

They add it aligns them with broader environmental goals and less about training benefits.

“With electric aviation being a the very first stepping stone in its long journey, the main advantage will be its environmental advantage,” said pilot and spokesperson Mike Andrews. “It also starts building the foundation for more and more capable sustainable aviation to develop.”

Andrews adds Transport Canada has put out requests for flight schools to start evaluating the planes and their feasibility. Sealand currently has 12 combustion engine aircraft, and general manager Nancy Marshall says they have the goal of making a full transition.

“The aircraft that we’re training on are old technology, the engines were designed in the ‘30s. I think the latest changes were made in the ‘60s or ‘70s,” said Marshall. “We would like to move ahead and change everything, but it’s going to be a slow process.”

Marshall adds the aircrafts are already being used in Europe, and they have little concerns for taking it on its first flight. Sealand adds they will be holding a first flight event for the aircraft and details will be announced soon.

They thank the communities of Campbell River, Powell River, Courtenay and Qualicum Beach for their support.

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