On December 10th, Ampaire, a company, specialised in hybrid electric aircraft systems, acheived an endurance flight of 12 hours with its Electric EEL demonstrator in Camarillo, California (United States). The flight thereby shattered all records as far as hybrid electric aircraft endurance goes.
Even though an endurance flight of 12 hours and 2,213 km is already spectacular as far as hybrid electric aircraft go, the Electric EEL demonstrator even had 2 hours worth of fuel and battery reserves left. Ampaire thereby proved that the limits of their demonstrator haven’t even been reached.
“Through this groundbreaking mission, Ampaire has shattered the conventional boundaries of electrified flight, underscoring our relentless pursuit of transformative vehicle performance and commercial utility”, Ampaire CEO, Kevin Noertker, said in a statement. “Our unique hybrid-electric solutions deliver unparalleled operating economics and unlock endurance and operational flexibility critical to our customer’s needs.The indomitable spirit of innovation within the entire Ampaire team propels us forward on this journey toward a sustainable future. It is a testament to our lasting commitment to pioneering excellence.”
Previously, Ampaire already accomplished the longest hybrid-electric mission ever. The company did so by completing a 3,025 km mission from Los Angeles to Oshkosh, Wisconsin in July 2022. However, that journey’s longest non-stop segment was only 1,826 km, from Mojave to Hays.
The Electric EEL consists of a converted Cessna 337 Skymaster, a twin-engine civil utility aircraft, which Ampaire uses to develop its H570 AMP Drive hybrid-electric propulsion system. Once that technology is finely-tuned, the knowledge will be used to turn the Cessna Caravan aircraft into the Eco Caravan.
The Eco Caravan is able to transport up to nine passengers and, according to Ampaire, could be the first electrified regional aircraft to enter commercial service – FAA certification is to be expected in 2024. UK-based Monte Aircraft and Brazil-based Azul Conecta already put in orders for the Eco Caravan.