Ampaire conducts first airline flight trials for hybrid-electric aircraft

©Ampaire Electric EEL aircraft

Los Angeles-based Ampaire, a global leader in electric aviation, has completed a demonstration flight of a hybrid-electric aircraft along an actual airline route.  The company flew its Electric EEL aircraft on November 22, on a 20-minute flight from Maui’s Kahului Airport across the island to Hana and back on a single charge.

Ampaire is now flying the route regularly in a one-month demonstration program with Hawai‘i-based Mokulele Airlines, one of 15 airlines to have signed a Letter of Interest with the company. It is the first use of a hybrid-electric aircraft under the FAA’s Experimental-Market Survey category, allowing Ampaire to fly with its crew and essential personnel for crew training and other exploratory market activity. The flight trials are supported by Elemental Excelerator, a global climate-tech accelerator.

The Electric EEL technology demonstrator used in the Mokulele trials is an upgrade of the popular six-seat Cessna 337 twin-engine piston aircraft. The aircraft has a 300-horsepower piston engine in the rear and a 160 kW-capable electric power unit in front, plus a battery pack carried in an under-fuselage aero-optimized shell. Due to the contribution of the electric power unit, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are reduced by approximately 40-50%.

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