Textron unit Pipistrel plans to seek full EASA IFR certification for its four-seat Panthera single-engine aircraft equipped with a Lycoming IO-540 engine and Garmin G1000 Nxi avionics. The aircraft is currently flying under an experimental license and is on display at EAA AirVenture 2022. The low-wing, retractable gear aircraft has a range of 955 nm and a cruising speed of 200 knots. It has gull-wing passenger doors and a removable rear seat for extra luggage space.
Also at AirVenture, Pipistrel plans to demonstrate and promote its two-seat, all-electric Velis Electro for the flight training market and will seek FAA certification validation. The aircraft has already been certified by EASA and the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Velis Electro has been under development for 12 years and has an external noise footprint of just 60 dBA. The aircraft “has already had a lot of success in Europe,” said Gabriel Massey, president and managing director of Pipistrel. “Having the world’s only certified electric aircraft available in the US is a very exciting prospect, especially for such a large GA and flight training market.”
Textron acquired Pipstrel earlier this year in a deal valued at $222 million. It is now part of Textron’s new aviation division headed by Rob Scholl, but will be operated as a separate company and a distinct brand, headquartered in Slovenia with additional production in Italy. Pipistrel founder Ivo Boscarol remains an advisor to the company. Pipistrel manufactures a family of gliders and light-powered aircraft with both electric and internal combustion engines, with additional electric and hybrid propulsion models under development, and has delivered 2,500 aircraft worldwide since 1989. Part of the company’s strategy is to make Textron “the world leader in durable aircraft for a wide variety of missions”.
Speaking to AIN ahead of AirVenture, Scholl said, Textron leveraged Pipistrel’s extensive experience with electric flight for some of Textron’s other programs, including its eAviation division’s Nexus urban air mobility, its certification and product support experience to strengthen the Pipistrel brand. “We’re really excited about the team and the manufacturing facility they have. There are locations in Slovenia and Italy,” Scholl said. “We plan to have both the business headquarters in Slovenia and the manufacturing in Italy. They’ve got a very good supply chain around composite manufacturing. They don’t plan to change the core aspects of how aircraft are designed and built. Textron Aviation’s By leveraging our global reach, we hope to help them build more aircraft and increase service and support.”
Scholl said the Pipistrel aircraft “complement” Textron Aviation’s existing Cessna and Beechcraft brands of piston engine aircraft. “We’re giving customers another option to step into a different type of aircraft,” he said. Under the Textron umbrella, Pipistrel will continue development work on a hybrid-electric-powered version of the Panthera, Scholl said, but he did not give a timeline for bringing it to market. He said the company will likely offer different powerplant options for the aircraft in the future. Source: ‚tNewsDesk‚.