STA, 22 August 2019 - Pipistrel, the Ajdovščina-based aircraft maker, has posted a new success as the first woman ever crossed the Atlantic and Pacific solo on its ultralight aircraft. This was after one of its planes crash landed in Norway.
Aarohi Pandit, a 23-year-old from Mumbai, made history on Wednesday as she landed safely in Russia's Far East region of Chukotka, having flown from Alaska's Unalakleet city across the Pacific Ocean's Bering Sea.
Aarohi, who is on a global flight in Pipistrel's single-engine Sinus 912 aircraft, had earlier already become the first woman in the world to cross the Atlantic Ocean and Greenland solo in a light sports plane.
Initially, the young pilot flew with her friend across India's Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Serbia, Slovenia, Germany, France and Britain.
However, since the tiny cockpit had to be equipped with a life-raft, oxygen system and other safety gadgets for the trans-oceanic flights, Aarohi undertook the remaining expedition solo.
Apart from good news, the Slovenian aircraft maker also had bad news after its two-seater all-electric plane was forced to crash land into a lake in Norway last week. No one was injured in the incident.
According to a report by Forbes, the plane, owned by Norway's airport operator Avinor, was being used to showcase the opportunities of electric power in aviation. It was piloted by Avinor CEO Dag Falk-Petersen with State Secretary Aase Marthe J. Horrigmo on board.
The plane took off from Arendal airport, some 285 kilometres south-west of Oslo. Whilst in the air, there was a signal that something was wrong with the engine power, whereupon the engine power weakened and disappeared completely, said the pilot, who landed the aircraft onto a pond.
Forbes commented that the incident would come as a setback to Norway's electric aircraft plans. However, the setback may not be as big because Norway's authorities have ordered two more same-model aircraft from Pipistrel despite the incident.
The Slovenian company confirmed it was made aware of the incident involving its Experimental class Alpha Electro in Norway on 14 August, saying it had activated its team of experts and offered assistance to the investigation authorities to investigate and determine the causes which led to the accident.
"Initial reports indicate loss of power which resulted in a forced landing. There were no human injuries and that safety mechanisms built into the design of the airplane and its systems acted nominally. There was no high voltage shock to the crew when the aircraft and crew were in water," reads the company's release.
This was the third incident involving the model, according to Aviation Safety Network; Pipistrel has so far supplied more than 60 Alpha Electros. In January an aircraft in Switzerland had to make an emergency landing because of loss of engine power and in October last year a crash claimed a human life in the Netherlands in unknown circumstances.