Hybrid electric start-up Ampaire open to further commerical orders

Ampaire, the California-based, electric aviation start-up, has announced that it will be accepting further commercial Letters of Intent for its hybrid electric aircraft, at the EAA AirVenture airshow next week.

 Ampaire’s EEL is a hybrid retrofit of a Cessna 337 Skymaster. The Skymaster is a twin-engine aircraft in push-pull configuration that was first produced in 1963. The EEL, on the other hand, has a conventional combustion engine plus an electric motor/battery pack.

 Kevin Noertker, Ampaire’s CEO, said: “The most practical way to achieve an all-electric future is to jump start the market with a partially-electric present”

 “The original Cessna 337 provided great utility, and this hybrid electric conversion retains those advantages while reducing fuel cost and maintenance by about 50 percent.”

 The EEL made its first test flight in June this year, taking off from Camarillo Airport, in California. Shortly following this, Ampaire received 50 commercial orders for the aircraft from start-up Personal Airline Exchange (PAX) – an on-demand charter company.

 Since its maiden voyage, it has flown six hours in flight testing and is set to be adapted into a second prototype – wherein the battery will be attached to the belly of the aircraft rather than inside the cabin – and used for a pilot project by Hawaiian regional airline Mokulele Airlines.

 The EEL’s test program will last about 30 months, with additional propulsion configurations tested, culminating in supplemental type certificate (STC) from the FAA by the end of 2021.

 The company said it already has more than a dozen letters of interest from regional airlines and charter providers.