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Friday, May 24, 2024

Electric plane crashed into lake

Norway’s much-hyped and only electric aircraft lost power while making the latest in a round of promotional flights on Wednesday. At the helm was the head of Norway’s state airports agency, who survived the crash unscathed along with a top politician flying with him.

Avinor’s electric plane that’s been used as a prototype and demonstration aircraft had to make an emergency landing on Wednesday after losing power over Arendal. PHOTO: Avinor

Avinor chief Dag Falk-Petersen admitted to Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that ending upside down with the plane’s tail caught in a tree and its nose in a lake was a major downturn, to put it mildly.

“It didn’t happen because of a lack of electricity,” Falk-Petersen told NRK, “but this is not good.”

He said he got “an indication that there was a problem with the motor and our power was lost.” He then sent out a mayday call to the tower at the local airport in Arendal, where thousands of politicians and other Norwegian leaders have gathered this week for several days of seminars, meetings and debates.

The small plane was already on its way back to the Gullknapp Airport in nearby Froland but Falk-Petersen ended up having to look for a new place to land quickly, since he knew they wouldn’t make it to the airport. The plane went down, with a flop, near Nesheim in Arendal.

Avinor chief Dag Falk-Petersen was flying the electric plane when he had to make an emergency landing on Wednesday. PHOTO: Avinor

Aase Marthe Horrigmo, a state secretary for the Conervative Party, was riding along as Falk-Peteresen’s passenger and said it was “surprisingly calm in the cockpit.” Asked whether there was any panic, she said “no, I felt confident that he would handle the situation.”

NRK reported that the electric plane, which made its debut in Oslo last year, is equipped with an emergency parachute that can be ejected from its roof. It can help the light plane sail down for landing, but it wasn’t used in the emergency landing on Wednesday.

The crash on Wednesday was nonetheless described as “dramatic,” with the local airport’s manager Jan Morten Myklebust telling newspaper Agderposten that alll radio contact was cut after the “mayday” call came in and the plane “went down.” Witnesses said the small plane seemed to “hop” upon landing until it hit a tree and capsized into the lake.

Avinor, which is promoting electric aircraft in Norway, had invited many guests to ride in the plane durng Arendalsuka this week, including a mayoral candidate from Oslo and a crew from NRK. Police and the state accident investigation board (Statens havarikommisjon) were charged with determining the cause of the crash.

Avinor has had high hopes for electric aircraft in Norway, with local airline Widerøe predicting that the first commercial electric flights will take off by 2025. The Norwegian government has asked Avinor to work closely with Norway’s state aviation administration (Luftfartstilsynet) to develop a program to promote electric aircraft for commercial use in Norway. Berglund



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