General Aviation News

Ampaire Completes Test Flight of Hybrid Cessna Grand Caravan

Ampaire Completes Test Flight of Hybrid Cessna Grand Caravan

Los Angeles-based aircraft manufacturer Ampaire has completed a test flight demonstrating how its hybrid propulsion system performs when incorporated into an aircraft that runs on fuel.

The test flight, which took place on November 18, saw a Cessna Grand Caravan retrofitted with an internal combustion engine and electric motor by Ampaire, saw the aircraft take off from Camarillo Airport near Los Angeles and fly for 33 minutes and climb up to 3,500 feet.

The flight demonstration of the aircraft, which Ampaire calls the Eco Caravan, comes after the company flew a Cessna 337 Hybrid-Electric airplane 1,135 miles from California to Oshkosh, making it the longest route ever flown by a hybrid-electric aircraft.

Ampaire plans to introduce more powerful propulsion systems for larger aircraft and says it is already working with the Federal Aviation Administration to certify the Eco Caravan in 2024 under a supplemental type certification.

“Fully-electric aircraft are range limited because of the weight and energy capacity of current-generation batteries. Hybrid-electric aircraft, however, can preserve the range and utility of today’s aircraft,” said Kevin Noertker, Chief Executive Officer of Ampaire. “That is why we are focused on hybrid-electric propulsion for a series of increasingly capable regional aircraft. It’s a way for the airline industry to decarbonize more quickly and also to benefit from lower operating costs.”