Today is the International Women’s Day – the day when we celebrate social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women – and of course, we celebrate the women who fly!

Women are gentle, beautiful, but resolute and courageous. It is exciting to see more and more graceful-but-strong future female leaders become pilots, because they were inspired by Pipistrel’s graceful-but-strong Velis Electro.
We share with you their empowering testaments, not just professional pilots, but also the lady-students, who made their first flight on the Velis Electro, in hope they will attract more women to aviation and spread the awareness to all future aviatrixes of the world.

Maya Zwick, 19 years old, is the first PPL student who made her solo flight on the Velis Electro. Her debut happened in Ecuvillens, Switzerland, on the 07.12.2020. This made her the youngest electro-pilot in the world!

This shows us that the implementation of the electric aircraft in the Swiss flight schools is progressing. Lady pilot students (and everybody else too, of course) can already carry out a part of the PPL student training on the Velis-E today.

Maya told us this about her experience:

“Attentive and calm at the controls of the Pipistrel AE 167, I am at the threshold of the Ecuvillens runway. I dream every day to be a Swiss military pilot and that’s why I’m training every day. But now, at my side, the seat is empty. I was looking forward to this first solo flight. My instructor, Michel Barras, prepared me well for it, I must say. Here I am, finally taking off. This plane is much lighter and more reactive than an older classic four-seater, and in just a few seconds I fly at the circuit altitude! The controls are very sensitive and are very responsive, which is what I like about this modern aircraft.
Unfortunately, I am limited to 40-45 minutes of flight at most which brings me back too quickly to the ground according to me! But I have confidence in this technology, and I can’t wait to experiment batteries with more autonomy. This may be the future of aviation, who knows?”

Léanna Riesenmey, a 20-year old female pilot from the vicinity of Paris, France, is currently training for her PPL simultaneously on the Velis Electro and APM 20, at Toussus-le-Noble airport. Léanna has been a glider pilot already since age 14, and has accumulated 250 flight hours so far… but the Velis Electro had the honour to host her first flight on a certified electric plane.

Léanna told us about herself: “Since I was little I wanted to be a pilot (military or civilian). I have quite a rich aeronautical background since I am a volunteer of the Casques de Cuir association at the Ferté-Alais aerodrome, I am part of the Association Française des Femmes Pilotes (AFFP, or French Association of Female Pilots), I fly gliders, fuel-powered as well as electric planes, and finally, I am doing my studies in this field too. I am currently in my second year of BTS Aeronautics alternating with Safran Aircraft Engines. I am studying at Toussus-le-Noble airport, at the CFA des Métiers de l’Aérien (AFMAé).”

She praised the Velis Electro: “What I notice and that I greatly appreciate about the Vélis is that it is pleasant to fly, it is electric and it has no carbon emissions so there is respect for the environment. As a glider pilot, I find many points in common; in particular, the fluidity and lightness of the controls, the reactions of the aircraft as well as the aircraft. By practicing on the glider, the combustion, and the electric airplane, I find it great that the Velis Electro feels like half-glider, half-airplane. She added: “I find it unfortunate that there is only one hour of autonomy because it would be great if we could fly for a few hours with this beautiful plane. But as this one is intended for laps training, it’s not bad.”

“If I am asked to test one or more prototypes like I did on the Alpha, I will say “Yes, with great pleasure” because it was a very nice experience knowing that I am young, I was only 20 years old when I did my first flight on it and I did my training, so it was amazing!”, she concluded.

Another inspiring news is coming from Sweden, from the Aeroklubben Goteborg. They have started with the flight training on the Velis Electro, and there is not one, but four lady student pilots who are waiting to get on board. This is great news and a confirmation that the Aeroklubben is well on their way to nature-friendly sustainable aviation. It was the first association in Sweden to receive its fully-electric sports aircraft Velis Electro from Pipistrel, with the appropriate designation SE-KWH. For that, the Aeroklubben Gothenburg received the Swedish Aviation Association’s environmental award 2020.

Louise Sigstedt Gerle, one of the female members of Aeroklubben, standing by the Velis Electro together with Aeroklubben’s president Mr. Måns Theorin

On the page of Aeroklubben Goteborg they report about the beginning of training with the Velis Electro:
Another milestone in the Aeroclub’s pioneering work with electric aviation was made yesterday. Our school principal and flight instructor Rickard Carlsson held the first flight lesson with SE-KWH. Elev was the Aeroklubben’s chairman and initiator of the Electric Flight Project Måns Theorin.”

Photo by Rickard Carlsson, https://www.instagram.com/p/CLyhZ3eh-6e/

Velis Electro is gentle and graceful, but also strong and reliable, so not only lady student pilots are the ones flying on it, but also ladies whose achievements are such that the whole world admires them!

Mrs. Dominique Gisin, the ambassador of the Swiss Aeroclub, visited Pipistrel in company of another legend of alpine skiing, Mrs. Tina Maze, the most successful skier in Slovenian history.

Mrs. Dominique Gisin is a former World Cup alpine ski racer and an Olympic gold medalist from Switzerland. Away from skiing, Mrs. Gisin is also a pilot; she learned to fly as a teenager and holds a CPL with IR since last October. Mrs. Gisin holds the role of an ambassador of the Swiss Aeroclub: http://www.aeroclub.ch/. She is very enthusiastic about electric aviation and she also recently took over the role of an ambassador for the event »ElectriFly-In«. So she visited Pipistrel and enjoyed flying with the Velis Electro.

Lady pilots fly their Velis Electro all over Europe. There are no borders for the beautiful gender or the greenest airplane! This was proven by the Project Elektropostal: two Pipistrel Velis Electro flew from Lausanne (Switzerland) to Aix-les-Milles (France). On the first leg of the tour, between Lausanne and Chambéry, the pilot was Mrs. Ilhame Guechati, vice-president of Elektropostal and the first Franco-Moroccan woman pilot of a military helicopter.

She shares her experience in this video (in French langugage):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpUC9Y39PfY&ab_channel=Elektropostal

Women are one of the world’s greatest inspiration.
They, too, can be powerful without being aggressive, just like the Velis Electro, and they too can make a true difference in aviation. Nobody should ever dismiss in what amazing and wonderful ways they can enrich what is typically a man-sport.

So to sum up, we wish to all of you ladies out there, pilots and others:

Happy Women’s day!

Thank you for your empowerment!