Aircraft manufacturer Pipistrel fields first European Ultralight OK'd for night flight

The Ajdovščina, Slovenia-based airframer credits its distributor in Poland for the successful certification of the company's ALPHA Trainer model.

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Pipistrel (Ajdovščina, Slovenia) announced that it has successfully achieved certification of its ALPHA Trainer Ultralight aircraft for night flight in Poland. The aircraft manufacturer's Jan. 4 announcement credited much of the success to work on its behalf by Krzysztof Bedkowski, the director of Pispistrel's distributor in Poland, Skydream (Bielsko-Biala), and to what proved to be "excellent relations" with CAA, the aviation authority in Poland.

Pipistrel's CEO Ivo Boscarol says, "We are proud that our ALPHA Trainer is the first Ultralight aircraft certified to fly in Poland under Night-VFR conditions." Night-VFR gives ALPHA Trainer owners the possibility to keep flying even when winter shortens the daylight hours. Flight schools are expected to benefit from the extended operating time with the ALPHA, and the company expects it to be the most cost-effective trainer for Night-VFR operations.

"With the ALPHA, pilots can enjoy the beauty of flying over illuminated cities and over countryside under full moon," says Bedkowski, adding, "We are committed to collaborate with the Polish Aviation Authorities to obtain the Night-VFR certificate for the Pipistrel Virus SW and, eventually, for other Pipistrel models."

The Pipistrel ALPHA Trainer is an affordable two-seat composite aircraft, powered by the Rotax 912 80-hp engine, which burns only 2.5 gal/hr (9.5 l/hr) of fuel on a typical flight. A popular Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) variant is produced in Italy, but the Microlight/Ultralight model is made in Slovenia. The ALPHA Trainer ships in one “full-equipment” configuration, which includes a radio, a transponder, GPS, a ballistic parachute rescue system, specially developed analog/digital instruments, extra strong landing gear, external lights and more.

Pipistrel is an award-winning aircraft producer and 2012 Collier-prize nominee with products that range from single- and two-seat, self-launching gliders, light-sport trainers, motorgliders and high-performance, two-seat cruisers to its larger four-seat Part 23-certified Panthera. Pipistrel reportedly was the first airframer to fly both a two-seat and a four-seat electric aircraft, and was the winner of all three NASA Challenges for energy-efficient airplanes.

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