The Ampaire hybrid-electric EEL demonstrator aircraft completed a 1 880 statute mile mission in July from Los Angeles to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where it will be on display at EAA AirVenture’s most prominent location, Boeing Plaza. The journey included the single longest nonstop flight ever made by a hybrid-electric aircraft of 1 135 miles.

Ampaire test pilot Elliot Seguin took off from Camarillo Airport on Wednesday afternoon, July 20 to reposition to Mojave Airport in California (85 miles) in order to avoid the potential for early morning fog the next morning. On Thursday, he flew the 1 135 miles from Mojave to Hays, Kansas. The next morning, July 22, he completed the trip, flying 660 miles to Oshkosh’s Wittman Regional Airport.   

The EEL demonstrated fuel savings of up to 40 percent versus a standard Cessna Skymaster, on which it is based. The EEL is a parallel hybrid, with one conventional combustion engine and an independent electric drivetrain. Optimised hybrid electric aircraft can demonstrate substantially higher fuel savings and emissions reductions. 

“By the time the EEL returns to California it will have flown more miles than any hybrid-electric aircraft, over 15 000, including airline demonstration flights in Hawaii and the UK. It is flying with great reliability and demonstrating the workhorse nature of hybrid-electric aircraft,” notes Dr Susan Ying, Ampaire’s SVP of Global Partnerships. 

First commercial product

“We are taking the technology and expertise developed with the electrical EEL and applying it to our first commercial product, the hybrid-electric nine-seat Eco Caravan regional aircraft, which will make its first flight later this year. That aircraft will demonstrate fuel savings up to 70 percent and emissions reductions up to 100 percent when using sustainable aviation fuel.” 

Ampaire is moving rapidly to bring the benefits of electrification to aviation markets, starting with the Eco Caravan and scaling its technology to larger regional aircraft. The company is upgrading existing passenger aircraft to hybrid-electric power which is the quickest, most efficient approach to making commercial electric air travel a reality with available technology. The ultimate aim is to offer upgraded and all-new hybrid-electric and fully electric aircraft using technology which is scalable to larger aircraft, including large regional aircraft.

One Response

  1. To what extent is in-flight solar energy collection used to augment batteries. The picture of the Cessna doesn’t show the usual solar panels for power collection on upper surfaces, so presumably ground based charging of batteries is required. In which case, unless the latter is achieved by solar / wind sources, does the overall emissions equation take this into account.

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