Air Freight News

Beam Global sets world record for longest flight in a production electric aircraft, powered only by sunshine

Jul 20, 2021

Pilot Joseph Oldham with New Vision Aviation captains the zero-emissions flight charged exclusively by transportable off-grid EV ARC™ systems

Beam Global, the leading provider of innovative sustainable technology for electric vehicle (EV) charging, outdoor media and energy security, today announced it successfully set the world record for the longest flight in a production electric aircraft powered by off-grid, renewable solar energy, proving zero emissions aviation is here.

Starting in Fresno, the Pipistrel Alpha Electro aircraft flew 227 nautical miles over Central California with stops in Madera, Merced, Modesto and Lodi before following the same flight path back to Fresno. Beam Global partnered with Pilot Joseph Oldham, Founder and CEO of New Vision Aviation, to make the trip possible. EV ARC™ electric vehicle charging equipment was rapidly deployed at several airports, and in some cases relocated to support the multi-leg flight, demonstrating that airports can support the electrification of aviation without construction, electrical work or large utility charges.

“This historic world record marks the start of a new chapter for zero emissions aviation while breaking down the barriers to rapid adoption of commercially available clean aircraft. Our products make airport charging infrastructure available now, ushering in a new level of aviation access for rural and suburban denizens,” said Beam Global CEO Desmond Wheatley. “There are around twenty thousand public and private airports across the U.S. and we want to put clean, impact free charging infrastructure in all of them.”

Currently, 62% of electricity from the grid in the U.S. is sourced from fossil fuels and 29% of greenhouse gas emissions comes from the transportation sector according to an April U.S. EPA report on Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions. As the momentum behind the electrification of transportation continues to grow globally, this world record highlights the coming renewable revolution of air travel ushering in a new era of clean transportation. These efforts are being led by the state of California, where Governor Gavin Newsom has dedicated a portion of the proposed 2021 state budget to mitigating the dangers posed by climate change, including efforts to prioritize zero-emission transportation.

“I’m thrilled we accomplished our record-setting flight. This is a defining summer for sustainable aviation and for establishing the Central Valley as a forward-thinking region for propelling the electrification of aviation ahead at an accelerated pace,” said Pilot Joseph Oldham, Founder and CEO of New Vision Aviation. “Our goal with this accomplishment is to raise awareness of the urgent need for more clean transportation options—and show the world what is possible.”

Non-profit New Vision Aviation sees California’s Central Valley as an emerging innovation hub for the electrification of aviation and oversees educational programs for disadvantaged youth to inspire and train them for careers in clean aviation. The program is funded in part by Fresno Measure C.

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