Florida Tech becomes first American university to operate electric plane

The Velis Electro is Florida Tech’s new electric plane. It is the first university to fly and operate an electric aircraft in the U.S.

The tiny two-seater is waiting for U.S. certification, so Florida Tech is flying it experimentally to help the Federal Aviation Administration learn more about the plane by providing data from the first 50 flight hours and reaching new heights for aviation students.

"We teach students how to test new airplanes, and having a brand new airplane with this new technology is exactly what we want our students to see… After we fly the first five hours and get comfortable with it, we will start to then let students fly along so they are able to fly along, collect data, do research and then write a thesis based on this airplane," said Florida Institute of Technology Associate Professor Brain Kish. 

Florida Tech’s former associate Dean Isaac Silver is the pilot on board. He flew the first flight test with the plane.

"Electric flight is going to be with us in the near future. Maybe 2030, 2035. So being able to be first and get a glimpse of what the future is going to be for small aircraft, I think is very important for the students because they are training now for a career in the future and here is the future," Silver said.