Old Buckenham Airfield is delighted that it is now home to the UK’s first electric aircraft charging point, installed in time for the Old Buckenham Airshow. It’s also the first aircraft charging point in Europe to be powered entirely from solar energy.
The unit, housed in a cutting-edge, solar-panel-roofed hangar comes courtesy of NUNCATS (a community interest company (CIC) and SEUK certified social enterprise) who are developing a remarkable solar-powered aircraft system for developing countries.
The project has seen the successful construction of a Zenith CH 750 ‘Skyjeep’ powered entirely by an electric motor. The aim is that charging points like Old Buckenham’s will allow distant communities to be serviced by a small landing strip and solar hangar. The aircraft, able to taxy under its own power, will soon enter into a sequence of maiden flights, all from Old Buckenham.
The project has recently been the subject of an official visit by Aviation Minister, Robert Courts MP, who was able to see the aircraft run and be charged during the Old Buckenham Airshow.
The airfield will shortly apply for planning permission for up to six charging points and is assisting other pioneering projects to promote zero-emission aviation.
The charging point, whilst erected predominantly for NUNCATS’ project, will also be equipped to charge the Pipistrel Electro range of aircraft, providing a start to their network of electric charging points.
Matt Wilkins, Old Buckenham’s CAA Accountable Aerodrome Manager, said,
“We’re delighted that, thanks to being the home of NUNCAT’s, Old Buckenham will enter it’s 80th year by being firmly at the front of Aviation’s adoption of carbon-neutral technologies, we’re looking forward to the next important milestone; the aircraft’s first flight.”
Tim Bridge; NUNCATS founder said,
“Thanks to the support of Old Buckenham’s owners and management we’re now testing our first electric aircraft with power from its own solar microgrid. Over the coming months we look forward to demonstrating what impact off-grid electric light aircraft can have for rural communities.”