Electric aircraft to take to the skies over Norfolk

 The electric Pipistrel Velis Electro will be at Old Buckenham Airshow

The first UK airshow display by the electric Pipistrel Velis Electro will be at Old Buckenham Airshow this summer - Credit: Pipistrel

It’s another first for Norfolk’s most famous airshow - the UK’s first electric aircraft display.

Old Buckenham Airshow sets out to bring the bold, the unusual, the quirky, the exciting, the new and the legendary to Norfolk's skies.
So it's no surprise that Britain's noisiest aircraft, the RAF Typhoon, is joined in the display line-up on July 30-31 by one of the quietest.
In what looks set to be the first electric aircraft display in the UK, the Pipistrel Velis Electro – a two-seat ultra-modern wonder – will show off its skills.
It will be powered solely by electricity generated by solar panels at the south Norfolk airfield, which was the first in the UK to boast an electric aircraft charging point commissioned in time for the last airshow.
But don't expect the electric plane to just hover about gently cruising just above the deck. Its 78 horse-power electric motor packs quite a punch with a maximum speed of 181km/h (113mph or 98 knots), which means a great display is on the way - and it's only about as noisy as a normal conversation with a maximum noise level of 60 decibels (dBA).

A cockpit view from the Beaver, one of the aircraft heading to Old Buckenham

A cockpit view from the Beaver, one of the aircraft heading to Old Buckenham, where the line-up includes an amazing electric aircraft. - Credit: © George Romain, All Rights Reserved

In the cockpit will be the intrepid Alex Reynier, a pilot happy to follow in the path of the adventurous Wright brothers and fly one of the very first aircraft of its kind.
Alex will be at the show flinging his 1600cc Turbulent aircraft about in some truly jaw-dropping manoeuvres. Dubbed the superbike of the skies, this nippy lightweight aircraft skips about delighting airshow crowds with cheeky flour bombing and balloon popping plus heart in the mouth under the limbo low-level flights. 
But then Alex, who launched his display career at Old Buckenham, will also show off the electric aircraft, which is worth about 10 times as much as a Turbulent and comes courtesy of Nebo Air. 
Show director Matt Wilkins can't wait.
"We have the first electric aircraft charging point installed in the UK; the fourth in the world powered by solar alone," he said.
Its green-thinking continues with projects such as installing cabling to use mains power from zero-emission providers instead of generators where possible, and a pledge to plant 40,000 trees every single airshow from now on.

The Beaver will be appearing at the Old Buckenham Airshow

The Beaver will be appearing at the Old Buckenham Airshow - Credit: © George Romain, All Rights Reserved

Matt said the extraordinary continues at the show, not only with the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, RAF Falcons, three Spitfires, P47 Thunderbolt, a Hawker Hurricane formation, Beechcraft Staggerwing, P-51 Mustang and Catalina in the line-up, but something else truly special.

The Beaver, appearing at the Old Buckenham Airshow this summer

The Beaver, appearing at the Old Buckenham Airshow this summer - Credit: © George Romain, All Rights Reserved


The airshow is celebrating the 80th Anniversary of the USAAF’s arrival in Norfolk (and therefore Old Buck’s 80th birthday) with a recreation of one of the great epic dogfighting duals.

The P-51 Mustang, Miss Helen, heads to Old Buckenham this summer

The P-51 Mustang, Miss Helen, heads to Old Buckenham this summer - Credit: © George Romain, All Rights Reserved

"The iconic American in the form of the P-51 Mustang will face its nemesis, the German Me109, once more in the skies above England," said Matt. Even the 109 is itself extraordinary – it’s a very rare Buchon built in Spain which uses a Rolls Royce Merlin engine. 

The Buchon is painted in its WWII colours

The distinctive livery of the Buchon - Credit: © George Romain, All Rights Reserved

"This curious twist of history comes as a result of the Germans ‘supply chain issues’ when being pummelled into defeat in 1945. The aircraft were finished after the war and quite wisely used the greatest aircraft engine in history, rather than the losing side's lacklustre effort," he said.

Look out for an exciting dogfight featuring the Buchon

Look out for an exciting dogfight featuring the Buchon - Credit: © George Romain, All Rights Reserved

Crowds can look out too for some far-from-normal aircraft designed to operate from just about everywhere.
Arguably the most glamorous bush aircraft yet conceived, the DeHavilland Beaver will make its debut at the airshow. 
"The particular example which will display may well be the finest in existence, having been restored to a level of perfection that only the Aircraft Restoration Company of Duxford can achieve," said Matt.
What's more, winning the title of best-named aircraft manufacturer and machine, the airshow also debuts the American Champion’s Super Decathlon. Not only can this agile high wing aircraft land just about anywhere, but before doing so it can also be used (in the right hands) to perform some particularly stunning aerobatics.
There are full displays on both days of the airshow, and masses of things to see and do on the ground, from funfair, live music, classic vehicles, museums and military displays to a food village, bar and museums. 
Admission to the Old Buckenham Airshow July 30-31 2022 is by advance ticket only - and they're selling fast. Under 12s are free. Tickets at www.oldbuckenhamairshow.com