First flight into Silicon Valley shows Ampaire is ‘company of action’
The first ever hybrid-electric flight conducted in Silicon Valley exemplifies what Ampaire is all about says CEO Kevin Noertker.
Alongside a test pilot, Noertker flew in the firm’s flagship aircraft into Palo Alto Airport to meet with investors last week. The landmark flight highlights the role regional airports like Palo Alto play in bringing sustainable transportation options to communities.
“Actions speak so much louder than words,” Noertker told Revolution.Aero. “For those who have been following Ampaire for some time, it’s clear we are a company of action. However, as notable as our accomplishments have been, the reality is that most of the world is still unaware of the amazing progress in sustainable aviation, and the proximity to real-world deployment of this impactful technology.
“The flight into Palo Alto Airport is not just a technical verification of our systems but a clear message that the era of electric aviation is upon us,” he added. Ampaire’s hybrid-electric aircraft have demonstrated fuel savings of over 50% versus combustion engined airplanes.
“Taking off in any airplane is a magical experience. Taking off in an aircraft which you have personally built, it’s breathtaking,” said Noertker. “When flying over the California coastline we are engulfed in and reminded of the beauty of our environment. Gilded dawn, cerulean skies, azure ocean, serpentine sandy beaches, sprawling emerald mountains.”
Flying to Palo Alto, Noertker told us he and his pilot overpassed airport after airport after airport. “Each represents a community we’ll connect. On that thought, our pilot and I brainstormed about the barnstorming days of sharing aviation with the world. How can we possibly visit so many spots?” At one a day, Ampaire would still need well over a decade to visit them all. “We have our work cut out for us! We can’t do it alone, and need to engage more of the world to help,” he said.
As Noertker sees it, the first solutions to serve commercial use cases will be hybrid-electric upgrades of traditional turboprop aircraft. Ampaire sees cargo and government operators as having the most accelerated timelines. It also sees significant demand from passenger carrying operators across the globe, as well as some recreational and private owners showing enthusiasm too.
The firm has now deployed its aircraft in a variety of regions including island hopping in Hawaii and Scotland, crossing the US and journeying over Canada and Alaska. “We have already deployed our airplanes across the globe. Hawaii and Scotland are obviously a great use-case and where our planes have performed very well,” said Noertker. “Flying in communities in Alaska and Canada has reminded us of the essential nature of aviation in many regions of the world. In these places, aviation is literally a lifeline.
“In most areas, we’re seeing that ground infrastructure will be slow to build-out, making it all the more important for end-users to start with hybrid electric options that don’t require novel refuelling systems,” he added.
With certification and operations coming ever closer on the horizon, Ampaire is planning to raise additional capital. “It looks like the capital markets are strengthening and we’re seeing more deals getting done as we come to the close of 2023,” said Noertker. “Reflecting on last week’s historic flight, I’m filled with pride for our team’s achievements and gratitude for the support from our existing investors and community. I know they have many choices of which journey to take, and thank them for choosing to fly with Ampaire.”
Noertker said new funding will be used on strategic priorities like bringing the AMP H570 and Eco Caravan through certification, commercialisation maturity such as building out initial production facilities and aftermarket support networks and market expansion in scaling its AMP Drive system into broader applications and additional aircraft types.