From left – Adrian Vatovec, Honorary Consul of Slovenia for South Australia, Fred Hull, Aerospace & Defence Manager, Axiom Precision Manufacturing, Tine Tomažič PhD, Director of R&D at Pipistrel, and Les Shearn, Australian Aerospace Alliance.
Australian Aerospace Alliance Visit Pipistrel in Slovenia
Les Shearn and Fred Hull representing the Australian Aerospace Alliance and Adrian Vatovec, Honorary Consul of Slovenia for South Australia, visited the world’s most innovative light aircraft manufacturer Pipistrel in Slovenia on October 14, 2016.
The Australian Aerospace Alliance is interested in developing a working relationship with Pipistrel.
Taja Boscarol, daughter of Pipistrel’s founder and owner Ivo Boscarol, gave a presentation detailing the history of Pipistrel, including a description of the determination of how Ivo Boscarol started the company. Ivo was a printer and wanted an outside activity and he came up with ingenious ways of bringing glider parts in to then Yugoslavia of which Slovenia was a part of (Slovenia gained independence in 1991), as back then it was prohibited for a private person to build such a glider. When Ivo flew this glider to local people it looked like a bat in the sky and this is where the name Pipistrel comes from as it means bat in Latin.
From these humble beginnings Pipistrel has over the pursuing years developed leading edge products and has achieved numerous awards because of its strong focus on R&D. Some of these achievements are:
– the record-breaking flight around the world (Slovenian pilot Matevž lenarčič was the first person ever to complete such a flight in an ultralight aeroplane – Pipistrel Sinus.
– the Taurus Electro was the world’s first two-seat electric motor glider
– the modified Pipistrel aircraft “Virus” won the NASA centennial challenge two years in a row in 2007 and 2008
– in 2011 Pipistrel Taurus G4 won the NASA Challenge for the third time
– the Aviation and Aerospace Examiner – the nationwide edition – by the Examiner.com/ names the Sinus “Aviation and Aerospace Examiner’s Best of the Best 2010” editor’s choice for the motor-glider category.
– Pipistrel in 2010 was selected as the winner of the prestigious European Business Award as the most innovative company in the European Union
– Pipistrel won the gold medal at the Biennial of Industrial Design
– Pipistrel Taurus Electro won the Lindberg Prize 2011 in the category Best Electric Aircraft
– In 2012 Pipistrel received the prestigious August Raspet Memorial Award by the EAA,
for the outstanding contributions to the advancement of the design of light aircraft.
– Pipistrel’s two-seat microlight Alpha Trainer was selected as “The best light aircraft of the year 2013” by the Fliegermagazin!
– Pipistrel’s Panthera received the Aerokurier award for innovation in 2014
– Pipistrel was awarded in 2015 the largest contract in aviation history, in terms of the number of planes, by the Indian Ministry of Defence to supply 194 aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF), Indian Navy (IN) and National Cadet Corps (NCC). There is an option to supply a further 100 planes.
– In 2016 Pipistrel became the first aviation company in the world to be granted a license to manufacture aircraft outside of China for the Chinese market.
– the first 4-seat aircraft powered by hydrogen fuel cells called the HY4 had its inaugural public flight on September 29, 2016 in Stuttgart Airport, Germany
Pipistrel is the first aircraft manufacturer in the world to be granted a license to manufacture aircraft outside of China for the Chinese market.
Tine Tomažič PhD, Director of R&D at Pipistrel, showed the visiting party through the R&D and production facilities. A major emphasis at Pipistrel is placed on R&D as they are continuously testing new ideas which is why they are at the forefront of light aeroplane technology.
As an example, Pipistrel is leading the way in electric engines, which are one tenth the size of a conventional petrol engine. Every other light manufacturer in the world that uses an electric engine is sourced either wholly or partly from Pipistrel.
In terms of future developments, because an electric engine does not have to be placed at the front of an aircraft, as with petrol engines, Pipistrel are experimenting with various designs that will significantly change the look of an aircraft.
Pipistrel began in its early years with 2-seater planes, then 4-seater planes, and are now looking at designing larger models such as a 10-seaters.
Pipistrel continue to evolve through innovation, breaking the mold, and steering the aviation industry into the future.
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