• Pipistrel's Virus SW 121. (Pipistrel)
    Pipistrel's Virus SW 121. (Pipistrel)

Aviation giant Textron Aviation, which owns the Cessna, Beechcraft and Bell brands, will acquire Slovenian LSA and electric aircraft manufacturer Pipistrel, the two companies announced overnight.

Pipistrel counts within its product range the Virus SW LSA, Alpha Electro trainer, Velis Electro and the 200-KTAS Panthera retractable GA single.

According to Textron, Pipistrel will now have greater resources, technical and regulatory expertise and a global support network, enabling it to accelerate its development and certification of electric and hybrid electric aircraft.

Once completed, Pipistrel will become part of a new business segment: Textron eAviation, which will focus on developing sustainable aviation systems.

“Pipistrel puts Textron in a uniquely strong position to develop technologies for the sustainable aviation market and develop a variety of new aircraft to meet a wide range of customer missions,” said Textron Chairman and CEO Scott Donnelly.

“Today’s announcement supports Textron’s long-term strategy to offer a family of sustainable aircraft for urban air mobility, general aviation, cargo and special mission roles.

“Pipistrel has been celebrated as one of the world’s most important and successful manufacturers of electric aircraft.Textron is committed to maintaining Pipistrel’s brand, headquarters, research and development, and manufacturing in Slovenia and Italy, while making additional investments in Pipistrel for the development and production of future products.”

Pipistrel founder and CEO Ivo Boscarol will retain a minority shareholding in Pipistrel as well as consulting role for the next two years.

“Under my 30-year leadership, Pipistrel’s team has achieved a unique prime position in personal, affordable, environmentally friendly and electric aviation. The trend and foundation for future projects has clearly been set,” Boscarol said.

“To drive Pipistrel’s ambitious goals and to continue its story of success, the joining of Textron and Pipistrel provides deep expertise and resources which would otherwise be inaccessible to Pipistrel alone. With Textron, we are together geared to strive for future growth and look forward to announcing exciting new products and projects.

"I am delighted to continue witnessing my vision become a reality by being actively engaged with the company for the future.”

With the Pipistrel Virus SW now under their brands, Textron will have an LSA in its stable for the first time since the disappointing C162 Skycatcher was made defunct in 2013.

Both Textron and Pipistrel expect to complete the buy-out before the second half of 2022.

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