Solar-powered plane aims to break world record from Fresno Chandler Executive Airport

Local News

FRESNO, California (KSEE) – Taking off from the Fresno Chandler Executive Airport around 6:20 a.m. Wednesday, a production electric aircraft powered by off-grid renewable energy is about to make history.

“We’re proving out today, the value of the infrastructure that’s being developed for electric cars has a potential to also electrify aviation, which electric aircraft are here and are coming very rapidly.  More and more are coming into the marketplace,” said Joseph Oldham, Founder, and CEO of New Vision Aviation.

Odham is piloting the solar-powered plane, a Central Valley native, who knows first hand why utilizing these types of aircraft is a step in the right direction — especially in the Valley.

“So electric aircraft are feasible today and offer that opportunity to both reduce carbon emissions and also criteria pollutants like naaqs and PM10 or PM2.5 which are a problem for us in our air quality in the San Joaquin Valley on a day to day basis,” said Oldham.

Beam Global specializes in electric vehicles and makes it possible for the plane to fly for about an hour at a time before recharging.  The CEO is proud his company is leading the way for environmentally-friendly aviation.

“It’s absolutely groundbreaking.  I mean, first of all, our ability to deploy charging infrastructure in an airport like this without construction, without electric work, that’s an absolute first and then, of course, aviation is a terrible polluter as it stands today,” said Desmond Wheatley, the CEO of Beam Global.

The Pipistrel model aircraft will be stopping to recharge in Madera, Merced, Modesto, and Lodi before touching down and breaking the world record around 10:05 a.m. Thursday at the Sacramento Executive Airport.

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