Today, our flying club invited the media to have a look at our aircraft, learn about it and get a free flight over the city centre. Due to Covid, we'd invited only news media, so no flying magazines or the like. We got three positive answers, so we were visited by the wire service TT, one of the two major evening newspapers and the local station of Swedish television. For most journalists this is probably not regarded as a top assignment, but the members of the press who visited us were very interested and very professional.
For us as a club, the electric aircraft is the bait: the thing that makes them visit. But we also made sure to put both ourselves and GA in general in a positive light.
Sweden's biggest daily newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, picked up on the wire story already a couple of hours later with a short story and three pictures. This is a screenshot from my phone. The caption reads "The first electric aircraft has taken off". The pilot, Rickard Carlsson, is our FI and one of two pilots certified in the country.
The article is found here, now also updated with a short video: https://www.dn.se/ekonomi/forsta-elflygplanet-har-lyft/
. I think it's not behind a pay wall.
Both the aircraft and our current club president had a lot of pictures taken of them today:
Here's the reporter from the evening paper after a flight that she was most happy with. Her article isn't online yet.
Earlier in the week, we showed our aircraft at an event hosted by Heart Aerospace, whose office is also at our airport. They aim to make an electric commuter CAT aircraft that they say they want in the air by 2026. It's a startup, but they had a successful event attended by the minister for infrastructure as well as Prince Daniel, the husband of our Crown Princess. So we did get some minor publicity there, too.
Next weekend, our aircraft will be taken by truck to Östersund, quite a bit to the north, where it will feature in a documentary. After that, we hope that we regular members can start our training. At the moment, our CFI and one FI have the necessary rating to fly electric aircraft but not to instruct. That's obviously needed first. AIUI, the Swiss flying school who got the very first certified Pipistrel Velis is in a similar situation: they have two instructors who are allowed to fly it but not to instruct. (If anyone knows differently, please post!)
The next milestone for us will obviously be when we can start using the aircraft in the club. That may take some time, then, but I'll post when something interesting happens.
Autocorrect is so frustrating. It's always making me say things I didn't Nintendo.