It's not until you hear another plane take off that you realise just how quiet an electric aircraft is.
With only one in New Zealand, the Pipistrel Alpha Electro aircraft's visit to Kāpiti Districts Aero Club last week has come at an important time for both the club and the aviation industry.
With the future of the Kāpiti Coast Airport up in the air and the Climate Change Commission's recent report on its 2022-2025 emissions reduction plan including some electrification of short haul domestic air travel in the demonstration path from 2030 onwards, the visit is hoped to help kickstart New Zealand's electric aviation revolution.
The Pipistrel Alpha Electro aircraft Rerenga Hiko ('Flying Electric') arrived disassembled in Kāpiti on Friday, June 11 and has been fully booked by aero club members around the lower North Island and public passenger flights since its arrival.
At a Future of Flying event last Friday, Kāpiti Districts Aero Club president Tony Quayle said, "While this is the end of the aircraft's first trial at Kāpiti, it is only the beginning of electric aviation locally.
"It's been booked out and done 17 hours so far which is very heavy utilisation for a week, especially with a few weather disruptions.
"There's been huge interest in the aircraft."
Brought to New Zealand by Christchurch start-up ElectricAir, the Pipistrel Alpha Electro is a battery powered electric two seat aircraft.
Designed as a training aircraft, the lithium batteries last up to 90 minutes, and can be charged in under an hour.
With no petrol required and the only liquid in the aircraft being a coolant for the motor, the aircraft costs just $75 an hour to operate.
"We are able to operate this aircraft at $75 an hour, whereas a Cessna 152, our standard training aircraft, is $200 an hour.
"There is a dramatic difference in cost in flying this aircraft."
Brought to New Zealand by ElectricAir owner Gary Freedman after finding he couldn't reconcile driving an electric car but flying in a petrol aircraft, Gary has found interest in the aircraft has been huge.
With Aotearoa having one of the highest rates of short haul flights in the world per capita and goals of achieving a 100 per cent renewable electricity grid, ElectricAir sees electric aviation as a no-brainer for New Zealand.
"It's been overwhelming, the interest in the aircraft.
"About 14 per cent of our emissions come from aviation and 7 per cent of those come from short haul aviation.
"We need to be putting the pressure on and as you can see from the Government's climate change report, New Zealand wants to start taking up electric planes by 2030."
On the pretext of a family holiday, Gary went to Slovakia to look at an electric aircraft made by Slovenian aircraft company Pipstrel.
"I had a flight in it and I was completely hooked. And now it's here."
Speaking to aero club members, aviation enthusiasts, local hapu and members of parliament with the Kāpiti mayor and director of Civil Aviation Authority Keith Manch also present, Gary shared his story, aiming to inspire others to get on board.
"We can't always be the nation that waits for the next thing.
"With this aircraft we've gone and done it, and proved just this week that there is confidence in the plane, it's done about 30 flights so far."
Along with being cheaper and better for the environment, you can't forget how quiet the aircraft is.
"It's 70 per cent quieter than normal planes," Gary said.
"It's a really good neighbour."
MP for Ōtaki Terisa Ngobi said, "Having something like this is amazing, especially as we want to be able to reduce our carbon emissions in the transport sector from the 47 per cent they're currently at.
"This is a great opportunity for us to see what it could look like in Kāpiti, and see the options out there.
"It's really good for Kāpiti to be seeing this and leading the way on this path."
Tony said while the club would love to purchase an aircraft, ideally two, it needs to wait to find out its future first.
Costing around $220,000, around the same amount as a new petrol aircraft, Tony said the club would be considering the plane as a potential option to replace its training aircraft, should the future of Kāpiti Airport be secured.
"I can absolutely see a future where the club could use the Alpha Electro as our primary training aircraft.
"However, we are in no position to make this kind of investment until the future of the airport is more certain."
He also said the club believes in the aviation industry's responsibility to explore sustainable flying options with the Electric Air visit being a key step in a sustainability strategy the club began over two years ago.
Kāpiti mayor K Gurunathan said, "I hope you can see what the potential is here to be part of a green aviation revolution.
"I ask that you have an open mind and look at what is on offer - for Kāpiti to be part of a national revolution, a global revolution, and a revolution that needs to change consumption factors and make the world a much more sustainable place."