Iceland's First Electric Aircraft - Hotel Rangá
Iceland's first electric airplane.

Iceland’s First Electric Aircraft

Iceland’s first electric aircraft took off for the first time last weekend from the local airstrip in Hella. The introduction of this revolutionary aircraft to Iceland is the initiative of Friðrik Pálsson, Hótel Rangá´s hotelier, and his friend Matthías Sveinbjörnsson, a pilot and the present president of the National Aeroclub. In fact, the project ties together two of Friðrik‘s passions: green energy and aviation.

 

Iceland's first electric airplane
Iceland’s first electric aircraft. Photo by Ingibjörg Friðriksdóttir

Friðrik has been a member of Iceland’s aviation community for years; he used to have a pilot license and was the president of the National Aeroclub many years back. What’s more, he has been at the forefront of green hotel policies in his work at Hotel Rangá. It comes as no surprise that Friðrik would lead the push to bring electric aircraft to Iceland.

“I have always been interested in the development of alternative energy sources for transportation,” says Friðrik Pálsson. “I began following Elon Musk back in 2008, and I got my first electric car in 2013 and am still driving it. Ever since, I have been following this electric revolution.”

Friðrik Pálsson stands on an airplane
Friðrik has been a member of Iceland’s aviation community for years.

 

From A Conversation to Reality

“Just over three years ago, my friend Matthías and I were talking about the revolution in electrical energy,” says Friðrik. “Then, Matthias said, ‘Did you know that the first electric plane has begun flying?’

I said to him, ‘Let‘s buy it!’

To make a long story short, three years later we have it up and flying.”

Friðrik Pálsson talks to the press about Iceland's first electric aircraft
Friðrik  and Matthías in an interview about Iceland’s first electric airplane. Photo by Ingibjörg Friðriksdóttir

Making Aviation History

The initiative to import the electric plane is a joint venture between Hotel Rangá and several Icelandic companies.

“We contacted good companies like Icelandair, Isavia, Landsvirkjun which financed the project with us and Landsbankinn took part in this project with us. We are especially glad to have the three main Icelandic flight schools involved as their involvement is crucial. Eimskip and the Energy fund also supported this project.”

The company Rafmagnsflug ehf. was founded for the project with the goal to pioneer energy efficiency flying in the country, train pilots and introduce this new technology to the people of Iceland.

 

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About the Aircraft

The plane is a two-seater Pipistrel, made in Slovenia. Iceland is an excellent place to support the development of modern electric aviation. The nation is the world’s largest green energy producer per capita. In fact, almost all electricity in Iceland comes from renewable energy sources.

As Iceland is located between Europe and North America, it is a desirable location for energy exchange in international flights. Therefore, Iceland’s first electric aircraft is only the beginning. Electric aircraft are the way of the future.

unloading Iceland's first electric aircraft
Transporting the airplane. Photo by Ingibjörg Friðriksdóttir

Things will happen fast

Iceland’s first electric aircraft is primarily for pilot training. However, larger passenger aircraft are already in development. There is a definite possibility that passenger electric aircraft will begin operation in the next decade.

“We already know of airplanes with up to 19 seats that will soon be flying domestically,” says Friðrik. “Icelandair has already placed an order for this aircraft as well as many other airlines. Over 100 companies all around the world are known for being full speed ahead in developing, testing and flying electric planes. I strongly believe that this will happen even faster than the change in electric cars.”

First electric airplane in front of Harpa Concert Hall
First electric airplane in front of Harpa Concert Hall. Photo by Ingibjörg Friðriksdóttir.

 

Electric Aviation and Tourism

What’s more, the new development in electric aviation could have positive benefits for tourism worldwide. Tourism is increasing globally and the changeover to electric aircraft will reduce its impact on the environment. Flying will also become much cheaper.

“The general tourist is becoming more and more concerned about the environment,” says Friðrik. “This will help people fly with a good conscience.”

Flying into the Future

Iceland’s first electric aircraft took to the skies this past weekend on July 9th. Of course, Friðrik was in attendance and took a ride on the new aircraft.

“Everything went perfectly,” says Friðrik. “It is a great experience. It is very quiet, very powerful and exciting. You feel like you are flying into the future.”

cockpit of Iceland's first electric aircraft
Cockpit of Iceland’s first electric aircraft. Photo by Ingibjörg Friðriksdóttir.

 

An Advocate of Green Energy

Friðrik has long been a champion of green energy. When the first electric cars were imported to Iceland, he was one of the first buyers and he has led the way for Hotel Rangá to go above and beyond in measures of sustainability.

As a member of Small Luxury Hotel’s Considerate Collection, Hotel Rangá is recognized among environmentally conscious hotels. It operates with green energy and prioritizes local produce, seafood and other products, and of course it recycles as much as possible. You can read more about Hotel Rangá’s sustainability measures here.

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