The Pipistrel Alpha Electro is a scrawny looking thing. At just 300kg the ultra-light aircraft might as well be called the Pipsqueak.

However, this modest fixed wing plane boasts some impressive performance that other planes can only dream of. Covering a range of 160km after roughly 1 hour of charging, it's a nifty aircraft.

More impressive still a full charge costs around $8 of electricity per hour of flight. Few planes, not even competing hybrid and electric vehicles can match it for sheer economy.
As the world's first serially produced electric aircraft, the model was first launched from the company's home base in Slovenia.

Good for about an hour of flight, the impressive 100kg 21-kilowatt-per-hour battery accounts for roughly a third of the aircraft's weight.

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The tiny 300kg aircraft could be the most cost efficient to run in the world. Photo / Supplied
The tiny 300kg aircraft could be the most cost efficient to run in the world. Photo / Supplied

According to Business insider there are already 40 units of the $200,000 aircraft produced for customers in Europe the US and Australia.

The low cost makes it perfect for learner pilots.

Benjamin Dodd Director of Operations at Tie Upp aviation has said that this next generation of ultra-light aircraft has been a game changer, allowing them to "provide training for young pilots as affordably and safely as possible."

A Tie-Upp Aviation based outside of Christchurch is currently using a fuel-driven model of the Pipistrel Alpha aircraft for pilot training.

"We're getting about 100 nautical miles for 9 litres so 180 km on 9 litres of fuel, and that's car fuel out of the pump."

Even with Christchurch reporting some of the highest petrol prices in the country, an average of $20.97 per trip is not bad.

Clifford Tie-Upp's Pipistrel training aircraft has opened up flying to young pilots. Photo / Supplied
Clifford Tie-Upp's Pipistrel training aircraft has opened up flying to young pilots. Photo / Supplied

Electric aircraft is definitely the direction of travel for low-cost flight and training; however the New Zealand training centre is still waiting to see the technology proven.

"We decided to go for the fuelled one because the electric plane is still very limited. You can't take it on cross country flights," explained Dodd, though he said that an electric model was on the cards in the future.

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The Pipistrel aircraft has allowed them to offer an hour's tuition from $95, compared to the New Zealand standard which is around $250 per hour.

Entry into commercial training and building flight hours has previously been an expensive pursuit.