British Columbia’s First Flight School Flying an Electric Airplane

Our Pipistrel Velis Electro

Working alongside Transport Canada, Sealand Flight is implementing one of Canada’s first fully electric airplanes into our flight school. We aim to reduce aviation emissions, train the next generation of pilots with new age technology, and prepare the regulatory framework for sustainable aviation to thrive in Canada. We are the second flight school in Canada to have been selected by Transport Canada for a trial program to evaluate electric aircraft in flight training. Our fleet’s new aircraft is a Pipistrel Velis Electro. Learn more about the zero emissions aircraft here.

Why Fly Electric?

The name Sealand has a long history associated with innovation. Now, while CO2 emissions continue to rise, our flight school is committed to becoming a leader in advancing zero emissions aviation, and establishing the framework that will permit use of future sustainable aircraft. We are playing our part in showcasing that these next generation aircraft exist and are ready to fly. The missing links are to address the regulations that prevent their commercial use, and the network of charging infrastructure required. Other industry leaders of sustainable aviation include Harbour Air, HeliJet, Air Canada, elibird Aero, The Canadian Advanced Air Mobility Consortium, and the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Aeronautics. Collectively, we are working towards reducing aviation’s global carbon footprint.

Sealand’s Initiative

  • Starting in early 2023, Sealand Flight was selected by Transport Canada to participate in a Trial Program of evaluating the viability of electric airplanes in Flight Training. We are the second flight school in Canada to be approved for this program.
  • Coordinated by Pipistrel’s Canadian distributor, Apex Aircraft, our first Velis Electro arrived in Campbell River on February 18, 2024.
  • While working with Transport Canada to approve the aircraft for flight, we hosted a Pipistrel factory maintenance course, led by Pipistrel engineers who imparted valuable knowledge to our staff, Transport Canada representatives, and other industry members from across Canada.
  • The first stage of flying our zero-emissions airplane is primarily private oriented use. This means that our staff can fly it, as well as conduct check-outs for other licensed pilots to fly the Electro.
  • The second stage: training of brand-new student pilots on the electric airplane, will require a specific regulatory exemption, issued by Transport Canada. This is expected to be received in early summer 2024 and will hallmark the beginning of commercial use of electric aircraft in Canada.
  • Within these two stages, we are evaluating the aircraft’s capabilities and limitations in the training of new pilots. This includes the need to fly to other airports and recharge.
  • Ultimately, our short-term goal is to be able to offer a full Private Pilot License on the Velis Electro. This will have us flying between Campbell River, Courtenay, Qualicum Beach, and Powell River.
  • In the long term, we strive to inspire change in the regulatory framework of aviation to permit the use of sustainable aircraft in other commercial operations. Additionally, we aim to promote the development of electric aircraft infrastructure at airports, welcoming the future of aviation with open arms.