Electric Aircraft At SMO? Join the next Airport Commission Meeting

A local Santa Monica Resident (Dave Hopkins) will be presenting the benefits of electric aircraft at the Santa Monica Airport Commission meeting on Monday, November 23rd at 7:30pm.

Please feel free to come out and join the meeting at city hall to learn about (and support) electric aircraft at Santa Monica Airport.

Here are some of the highlights of Dave’s presentation:

Electric-powered aircraft

  • Several manufacturers with products in progress, eg
    • Airbus, 2 seat version in production, four seat planned
    • Bye Aircraft, prototype flown, planned production
    • Pipistrel, 2 seat in production, four seat planned
    • Zero emissions, almost silent operations, similar autos
    • State-of-the-art safety and reliability systems
    • Ideally suited to propeller, pilot training applications
    • Electric versus gasoline engines: Direct Operating Costs in order of $11.25 versus $66.00 /hour.

FAA certification and regulatory

  • FAA working with various manufacturers
  • Expected FAA certifications to start in 2017
  • Electric-powered aircraft align with many Federal, State, County of Los Angeles and Santa Monica community regulations and initiatives. Eg LUCE, sustainability.
  • Electric-powered aircraft expected to benefit from many of the same regulations for electric powered autos, eg Federal, State, subsidies for purchase and infrastructure
  • Santa Monica already a leader in solar electric , electric auto, electric bike, light rail transportation adoption and infrastructure investment

Benefits to Santa Monica residents

  • 80%+ current SMO operations are gasoline-powered propeller aircraft. Most are training aircraft. (Aug/2015)
  • Current SMO operations 99.7% noise compliant (Aug/2015)
  • Electric-powered aircraft hold great potential to: Substantially reduce community noise & emissions
  • Aligns with city council concern with environmental impact, LUCE and sustainability.
  • Builds on existing city priorities and initiatives, eg electric rail, electric auto, solar electric, environmental responsibility.

Leadership opportunity

  • Historic leadership opportunity for airport commission
  • Electric-powered aircraft have substantial, potential community benefits, eg emissions, noise, safety
  • SMO already has electric-powered car infrastructure
  • Electric aircraft infrastructure eligible for 75-90% County, State, Federal and other funding
  • SMO can be County, State and US leader in installing airport infrastructure ready for electric aircraft in 2016. Will speed adoption and reduce, SMO noise, emissions below already historic low levels and become community leader.


  • Airport and City staff study the potential for substantial SMO noise, emissions reductions through electric-powered aircraft.
  • Investigate electric-powered aircraft infrastructure funding from County, State and Federal sources.
  • Model effects of 10%, 20% and 30% of propeller aircraft movements at SMO being electric-powered on predicted community noise and emissions.

About Dave Hopkins

Dave Hopkins is a sixteen year resident of Santa Monica, business owner and pilot. An air transport industry professional, he has worked for several manufacturers, including, Airbus, Boeing, Rolls-Royce and several air carriers, including Santa Monica’s Surf Air. He is now Executive Chairman of Air Transport Business Development, Inc. a Santa Monica business serving the air transport industry. Dave has held an active and current FAA pilot license for 34 years and Flight Instructor for 14 years. He serves his community, in part, as a flight instructor, teaching the next generation of aviators using his 3,400+ hours of flight experience. Dave Holds the following aviation qualifications:

  • MSc. Air Transport Management, Cranfield University, UK
  • FAA Airline Transport Pilot, multi-engine land
  • FAA Commercial Pilot, single-engine land
  • FAA Certified Flight Instructor, with single, multi-engine land and instrument certificates.
  • FAA certificates for gliders, seaplanes and tailwheel aircraft.