NORWAY - Taking the Lead on Electric Planes

Arno Froese

In July 2018, Norway’s transport minister Ketil Solvik-Olsen and Dag Falk-Petersen, the head of the country’s airport company Avinor, took a very special flight together.  

In front of the press they squeezed into the cockpit of a two-seat plane made by the Slovenian company Pipistrel. With Falk-Petersen at the controls, the pair took a short flight lasting a few minutes around Oslo in an Alpha Electro G2.

The flight’s novelty is partly explained by the aircraft’s name; it’s entirely powered by electricity. Battery-powered aircraft have made the leap from fantasy to drawing board to production. But it’s just the start.

Solvik-Olsen and Falk-Petersen weren’t just flying this plane for a lark; it was to underline one of Norway’s most dramatic plans to cut down on its carbon emissions in the decades ahead. By 2040, Norway intends all short-haul flights leaving its airports to be on aircraft powered by electricity.

It’s one of the most far-reaching promises yet to cut down on aviation’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. But there is one major barrier—there are no airliner-size electric-powered aircraft being built yet.

Norway is a good place for such experiments. Much of the country’s terrain is mountainous and there are many offshore islands, which means there are a lot of short-haul flights (Avinor runs no fewer than 46 airports in Norway). Road, rail or boat travel often take a lot longer than a short flight, especially during the winter when snow and ice can block roads and tracks.

“A lot of the flights here are only 15 to 30 minutes,” says Falk-Peterson, “and we have all sorts of mountainous terrain. That’s why we decided to set up a program where we can actually have aircraft makers tender for it in one or two years.”

Norway wants those aircraft makers to come up with a 25-to-30-seat airliner powered by electric motors, with the first of them introduced into service as early as 2025., 22 August 2018

Arno's commentary

In July of 2016, André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard from Switzerland set the new world record for longest solar powered flight, for 117 hours, 52 minutes—a distance of 7,212 km.

Now it is Norway’s turn to experiment with electric planes. Will they succeed? Only the future will give the right answer. In the meantime, mankind seems desperate to change the climate, but they don’t know how to change it and to what date. While it’s true polar caps are melting, no one has actual proof of what happened 1,000 or 2,000 years ago. Doubtless, mankind’s industrial revolution does contribute to temperature change. But can he reverse global warming? That seems to be an unanswerable question. Yet we do know what’s written in the Bible: “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22).

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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