Country for PR: United States
Contributor: PR Newswire New York
Saturday, November 19 2022 - 07:51
Ampaire Flies First Hybrid-Electric Regional Aircraft
CAMARILLO, Calif., Nov. 19, 2022 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/ --

-- Eco Caravan Reduces Fuel Consumption and Emissions, Leading the Way to a 
Sustainability Revolution

Ampaire's Eco Caravan, a nine-seat regional aircraft, made its first flight 
today on a fully-integrated hybrid-electric propulsion system. Ampaire expects 
it to be the first electrified regional aircraft to enter commercial service 
(certification in 2024) and the first in a series of larger Ampaire 
hybrid-electric aircraft that will lead a transition to sustainable aviation.

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"Aviation is the hardest industry to decarbonize," said Ampaire CEO Kevin 
Noertker. "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. 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."

Today's landmark achievement adds momentum to a program that has attracted key 
customers and program participants in recent months. In October, the company 
announced a relationship with Air France Industries KLM Engineering and 
Maintenance (AFI KLM E&M) for a range of worldwide maintenance service and 
support activities. Also last month, Ampaire received an order from MONTE, a 
financier of sustainable regional aviation technologies, for up to 50 Eco 
Caravans. "These types of relationships ensure that Ampaire's customers 
worldwide have compelling financing and leasing support alongside world class 
maintenance/repair/overhaul support," said Noertker.

A "smooth and quiet" first flight

The Eco Caravan upgrades the standard Cessna Grand Caravan with Ampaire's 
integrated propulsion system of a compression ignition engine and an electric 
engine. A battery pack in a body fairing preserves passenger and cargo capacity 
for the aircraft.

The first flight was 33 minutes in duration to make initial checks of the 
propulsion system. With test pilot Elliot Seguin at the controls, the Eco 
Caravan took off from Camarillo Airport north of Los Angeles at 7:49AM PST. It 
climbed to 3,500 feet at full power, combining power from the combustion engine 
and electric engine. Seguin then throttled back to a cruise setting, reducing 
load on both power sources. He spent roughly 20 minutes testing various power 
settings while studying temperatures and other readings before making a descent 
and final approach to Camarillo at a low power setting. "The Eco Caravan 
propulsion system performed just as expected," said Seguin. "It was smooth and 
quiet. All temperature and power output readings were normal."

Net Zero Emissions with SAF

The Eco Caravan reduces fuel consumption and emissions by up to 70 percent. 
Emissions are near zero when using sustainable aviation fuel. Cost of operation 
is reduced by 25 to 40 percent depending on airline route structure. Cost per 
available seat mile is near that of driving.

The hybrid-electric aircraft preserves the range/payload capability of the 
Grand Caravan, and in fact can fly farther than the Grand Caravan with eight 
passengers. Maximum range is beyond 1,000 miles. The Eco Caravan's range and 
load hauling capability is in marked contrast to proposed all-electric, 
hydrogen-electric and even other hybrid-electric designs.

The Eco Caravan can recharge its batteries in flight or at a charging stations 
on the ground. Because charging infrastructure will be limited for some years, 
the ability to operate independent of ground charging is critical for 
preserving the full utility of the Eco Caravan.

The first in a new generation of sustainable electrified aircraft

The Eco Caravan's propulsion technology is scalable to larger regional aircraft 
and ultimately to single-aisle airliners. Ampaire plans to rapidly roll out 
more powerful propulsion systems for larger aircraft, following a building 
blocks approach that will dramatically improve the sustainability of airline 

"As proud as we are of the Eco Caravan, we see it as a first step to larger 
hybrid-electric propulsions systems and ultimately zero-emission systems as 
energy storage technology advances," said Noertker.

First to market

Ampaire is already working with the FAA to certify the Eco Caravan in 2024 
under a supplemental type certificate, an STC. The Ampaire approach differs 
from others in that it does not require a full aircraft certification program, 
which can be time consuming and very expensive. The Grand Caravan is already 
FAA certified. Ampaire will certify it to fly with a new propulsion system.

"Launching hybrid-electric aviation is no simple task, but we have made it 
easier by upgrading an already certified aircraft," said Noertker. "We will 
come to market more quickly and allow airlines around the world to begin to 
gain operational experience with this new type of propulsion. And we will work 
with them on follow-on models to meet their network requirements."

Note to media: Expect first flight video later today.

About Ampaire

Los Angeles-based Ampaire was formed in 2016 with a mission to become the 
world's most-trusted developer of practical, compelling electric aircraft. The 
company is upgrading existing passenger aircraft to hybrid electric power–the 
quickest, most capital efficient approach to making commercial electric air 
travel a reality with available technology. Ampaire has scored a series of 
industry firsts since the 2019 maiden flight of its Electric EEL technology 
testbed aircraft, including the longest flight for a hybrid-electric 
aircraft--1,135 statute miles en-route from Los Angeles to Oshkosh, Wisconsin. 
For more information about Ampaire,

For Ampaire:

Jeff Miller

SOURCE - Ampaire, Inc.