• The MAHEPA Pipistrel Panthera in flight. (Pipistrel Aircraft)
    The MAHEPA Pipistrel Panthera in flight. (Pipistrel Aircraft)

A European consortium has announced that last month it successfully tested a Pipistrel Panthera fitted with a hybrid powertrain.

The Modular Approach to Hybrid Electric Propulsion Architecture (MAHEPA) project is backed by a group of eight companies including Pipistrel, the German Aerospace Centre and universities in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Slovenia.

The MAHEPA Panthera performed electric-only take-offs from Cerklje airport in Slovenia, with electric power supplied by an engine that ran on sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The consortium claims that the tests demonstrated the capability for zero-emission flight.

"Expectations set by prior ground-tests were only confirmed by the powerful, yet quiet performance of the MAHEPA Panthera, which has all the characteristics to become a flying test-bed for future developments in hybrid aviation," a Pipistrel statement says.

"With the achievement of this essential milestone the MAHEPA project is, with its numerous novel technologies developments and exemplary results, again contributing to a cleaner, quieter and more sustainable aviation, making the Europe Green Deal’s goals one step closer to reality."

The hybrid-electric Panthera demonstrator has a maximum take-off weight of 1315 kg, a maximum speed of 177 KTAS and range of 350 nm.

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