Australia’s first commercially produced electric aircraft takes off in Adelaide

Local company Bader Aero is set to publicly unveil its E22 Spark electric aircraft at the Adelaide Motorsport Festival this weekend.

Mar 24, 2023, updated Mar 24, 2023
The E22 Spark 2-seater aircraft. Photo: Supplied

The E22 Spark 2-seater aircraft. Photo: Supplied

The two-seater airplane will be Australia’s first commercially produced electric aircraft, having begun testing in 2020 as reported by InDaily at the time.

The Edwardstown-based company has adapted a well-known European airframe and fitted it with electric motor technology.

Bader Aero CCO and co-founder, Barrie Rogers, said the E22 Spark is a game changer for Australian aviation, particularly for flight training.

“The aircraft is a two-seater with a flight time of up to an hour and a half. That makes it ideal for training purposes, particularly circuit training, which is a key requirement for obtaining a pilot’s license,” Rogers said.

Michael Monck, Bader Aero CEO and co-founder, said the electric aircraft will play a vital role in reducing carbon emissions throughout the aviation industry.

“Globally, aviation accounts for 2 per cent of carbon emissions,” Monck said.

“We’re targeting the training market. Over the next 10 years or so, there are probably a quarter of a million pilots required, which will mean tens of millions of flying hours need to be flown.

“We see an opportunity to reduce carbon emissions by about 140,000 tons over the next decade by what we’re doing alone.”

Rogers added that even a minor electrification of flight training would offset significant carbon emissions.

“If just 1 per cent of the flight training fleet were powered by electricity, in a single year we could offset 58,000 tons of CO2 emissions. This is equivalent to the emissions produced from powering 11,285 homes for a year,” Rogers said.

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In addition to reducing the carbon footprint of the aviation industry, Monck said that electric aircraft are phenomenally quiet.

“We’ve got a massive sticker under the wing of the plane that says ‘can you hear me?’ to point out that most people can’t. Once things are up and running, all you’ve got is wind noise.”

Monck said he thinks the aviation industry will gradually electrify, as the automotive industry has been doing.

“Ten or 15 years ago you hardly ever saw an electric car, but they’re becoming more and more prominent,” Monck said.

“With advances in electric aviation and advances in battery technology, I think conventional aviation will eventually be surpassed by alternative forms of climate friendly aviation, including electric aviation.”

The Adelaide Motorsport Festival runs from 8:30AM – 6:00PM on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 March, with the E22 Spark on display at the RAA’s e-motions display in Victoria Park.

“Anyone from the public who wants to learn a bit about electric flight, or even find out how to learn to fly, they can come and have a chat to us,” Monck said.

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