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Norway’s first battery-powered plane crashed into a lake

Norway's first battery-powered airplane crashed into a lake yesterday, Reuters reports. While no one was harmed in the crash, the incident could be a set back for the country, which hopes to electrify all domestic flights by 2040. It's still unclear why the electric plane, an Alpha Electro G2, lost engine power, forcing the pilot to crash-land on his way back to the airport. The plane is owned by Avinor, Norway's state-run airport operator, and it was being flown by chief… ( Altro...

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bbabis 15
The Wright Brothers crashed many times. The first turbine and rocket engines had many failures. Things happen. Glad there was no loss of life and it gives us incentive to improve reliability and progress forward.
Jay Cee 6
Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!
Cliff Hammond 5
Learn history in public school? JAPAN bombed Pear Harbor!
Cliff Hammond 5
Never could spell, I know it is PEARL Harbor.
Gayla Maas 3
Ever see "Animal House"? It's a John Belushi line. I "got it", and found Jay's comment hilarious.
joel wiley 3
Those who do not learn the history of humor, are bound to miss it.
siriusloon 2
So if somebody quoted lines from 1920s vaudevillians or music hall comics from the 1890s, you'd recognise them as such? Be glad that somebody pointed out that Japan rather than Germany bombed Pearl Harbor because a lot of people didn't get the joke or notice the mistake.

For a large number of people reading this forum, "Animal House" is an OLD movie their parents saw. Unless you're a total fanatic about old movies, how many lines do you recognise from movies YOUR parents might have seen decades earlier?

Pop culture references rarely mean anything to people for whom that particular part of culture was never popular or relevant.
Gayla Maas 2
Easy, grasshopper.
Tommy Boy -1
My High School aged grand-daughters have never heard of John Belushi, let alone Animal House or The Blues Brothers!
Gayla Maas 1
That's a bit sad, Tommy. Those that have enjoyed Animal House, at the theater or streaming, have a sense of humor. Humor is something that is lacking in the a lot of the "younger" population, IMO, as everyone seems to get offended by everything.
airuphere 3
Yup. Plain and simple. To believe in most comments below, “give up it will never work” on the first try? A lot of great technologies would not be here today if that was the attitude. Crew Dragon solid fuel abort engines.. failed.. give up move on?
Falconus 11
"The crash debunks the myth that electric engines are necessarily more reliable. What they are is unknown."

No, as Torsten Hoff's comment says, it does debunk a myth that they CAN'T fail. However, to point to a single failure before the final report comes out does not justify the implication that they are no more reliable than a piston (or other types of) engine. The "What they are is unknown" from that quote doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. They are electric motors (not engines...) - we know what they are.

Pipistrel (the manufacturer of this plane) produces these primarily for flight training (staying within the traffic pattern). These are a very new technology, and of course they aren't ready for commercial flight.

For a different electric aviation project, check out the Eviation Alice, which is a heck of a lot more ambitious - maybe too much so, but we'll see.
Any myth that involves humans reaching the point of perfection is not worth our time.

However the "electric engine" myth, now that one needs to be eradicated like the plague that it is. When my grandfather was around we could drink, fight, and swear like sailors, but we did not call an electric motor an engine.
Martie Williams 8
...and I was taught not to call an engine a motor.
I have to admit, though, I still call my enginecycle a Motorcycle ;)
You're ok, Martie. A motor is the basic assembly. (Think short block.) An engine is the completed, ready to operate, device with all accessories installed.
I read about that definition many years ago.
Chris B 4
Success only happens when you fail to give up.
William Pearson 4
"General aviation is estimated to contribute less than one percent of all GHG emissions. Piston powered general aviation aircraft contribute an even smaller amount; slightly more than one-tenth of one percent (0.13 percent) of total GHG emissions". AOPA
It is generally accepted that commercial aviation contributes about 2% of carbon emissions.

While Norway gets most of its electricity from hydroelectric sources that is not the case in most counties. The last hydroelectric dam built in the US was in 1942. It most cases electric powered vehicles just change carbon emissions from a mobile to a stationary source.

The basis for the development of electric aircraft should be justified on other than greenhouse emissions.
siriusloon 3
Yes, "It is generally accepted that commercial aviation contributes about 2% of carbon emissions", but you forgot or chose not to include what is also generally accepted, and that is that aviation's portion is growing and so is the total. Even if commercial aviation manages to hold steady at 2& of the global total, the size of that 2% is growing.

But since you feel that being responsible for just 2% means aviation is not the problem, what are YOU doing about your use of any of the other causes?
AndreV 2
Of course, there are multiple reasons besides greenhouse emissions like lead poisoning from 100LL fuel, reduced noise emissions (which is the number one complaint of airport neighbors), less chance of burning to a crisp on an otherwise-survivable crash, reduced flight training costs, etc.
Ricky Scott 4
I wish them lots of success, they are trying to push into the future. My biggest hope is they some day discover the Magic combination for batteries that would give High Power for a long long time with a very short recharge time. It will happen, its just going to take the right mind. After all, look how far batteries have come in a short time.
bbabis 1
What you’re asking for may be truly magical. The answer may come first with a safe light weight fuel cell that can provide the needed power and range. However it happens, I hope that I get to fly one.
Greg Zelna 0
Another option to work around recharging time, would be swappable battery packs.
James Bruton 3
Promoting electric driven aircraft appears to have some merit, but the proponents of this technological "advance" always fail to mention the environmental impact of producing, recycling, and the human exposure of these rare earth mineral devices that can be quite harmful, perhaps more than the carbon released by a fossil fuel engine. Norway's population is relatively small for its' s size (about 7 million) and is very oil rich. The amount of air traffic criss-crossing Norway is not what you see in more populated areas. I've flown into Stavanger, Bergen, and other cities in Norway and compared to other areas, the airports are generally not very busy and often empty. The gain from electric aircraft here may not be a good fit.
Wolfgang Prigge 0
1). There are no rare earth minerals in lithium-ion batteries.

2). Rare earth minerals are not rare at all.
James Bruton 2
Typical reply from those who don't know the complete composition of these batteries, including lanthanum, neodymium, and other rare earth alloys. They also are composed of cobalt and nickel, which may or may not be considered rare earth. Rare earth is a term for these minerals. Their rarity is not a question or comment here.
joel wiley 3
"When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

A rare-earth element (REE) or rare-earth metal (REM), as defined by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, is one of a set of seventeen chemical elements in the periodic table
James Wilson Jr 2
Get the "Power of the Rabbit" next time and will keep going and going and going......
Mike Williams 2
I like the boss was flying that plane.
I heard a long time ago the guy who invented the electrical device GFI called a demonstration and his young daughter was in a swimsuit and dropped a live working plugin radio into the bathtub with his daughter. The GFI worked.
There are videos where the guy who demonstrated a bulletproof vest. He did shoot himself and lived.
siriusloon 1
Were any swimmers or fish electrocuted? ;-)

The problem with electric aircraft (and I'm not saying it's going to prevent their success) is that they weigh the same at takeoff, at altitude, and when they land. The stored electricity in the battery doesn't weigh anything (no nit-picking physicists chiming in, please) unlike a conventional aircraft that uses up its fuel and gets lighter throughout the flight. IIRC, a transatlantic flight uses about half of its fuel getting to its cruise altitude and the majority of the flight uses the rest (less reserves).

Not getting lighter during the flight will affect how much total "fuel" it requires, as well as the physical structure of the aircraft. Think how different conventional aircraft would be if they always had to land at their takeoff weight.

Again, I'm not saying that this is an insurmountable problem and that electric aircraft can never be practical, but I do think it will be a long time before they are as common as electric cars will become. The amount of liquid fuel carried by cars, buses, etc is nowhere near as high a percentage of its all-up weight compared with an airliner, so not losing weight during the journey just doesn't matter very much. With an airliner or cargo aircraft, it's very important. For general aviation, training aircraft, "news chopper 5", and other short-range flying, I think electric aircraft could be practical someday.
Albert Sauerman 1
Better it crash into a lake where it can be retrieved and inspected than to have it hit the ground and become so much crumpled metal and possibly a loss of life.
John Yarno 1
Those cheap HF batteries may not have been the most cost effective choice in the long run.
crk112 1
The writer sure seems to have a bias against electricity..
If we don't know the cause of the crash, how can it prove or disprove a dang thing?

Just what exactly do editors do these days?
Torsten Hoff 2
They reported that the event happened.

Would you prefer that they wait until the formal investigation is complete and the cause is known, or that they speculate with little or no evidence to go on?
Did you read the article? They did more than report, they claim the crash"debunks a myth" about electric powered flight. If that isn't speculation, I don't know what is.

To answer your question, I prefer they report what happened, where it happened, when it happened and who it happened to. I also prefer they let the experts draw the conclusions or give me enough information to draw my own.
Torsten Hoff 6
Yes, I read the article. They reported that the aircraft lost engine power. They did not speculate about the cause.

I think most people will agree that a electric motor is simpler and more reliable than a reciprocating internal combustion engine with its many mechanical parts. What this accident proves is that despite the inherent reliability, the system as a whole can still fail — it might even have been the electric motor itself that failed, we just don’t know yet.

If there is a widely held belief that electric airplane propulsion systems can’t fail, that certainly would be a myth.
Well, ok, I guess I just tend to assume the vast majority of people are rational enough to realize no system is 100% reliable.

So anyway, I agree that would certainly be a myth, but I would hope it's one not widely held... either way though it's not worth justifying with a response (by us or by the media).
Robert Kochman 1
It was probably cloudy.
James Driskell 1
Maybe they forgot to remove the charging cord before takeoff.
mbrews -2
Is this is anything more than a Tesla car with wings ? Note that Bill Boeing's first wooden planes had pontoons, and carried the mail around Puget Sound. Hey chief executive -- any hubris ? You and good old Icarus have a lot in common.


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