Ampaire Conducts Airline Route Flight Trials With Hybrid-Electric Aircraft


In partnership with Hawaii-based Mokulele Airlines, Ampaire has completed the first demonstration flight using its hybrid-electric Electric EEL on an established airline route. For the demonstration, the aircraft made a round-trip flight from Hawaii’s Kahului Airport (OGG) to Hana (HNM) and back on a single charge. Ampaire intends to fly the route regularly as part of a one-month demonstration program designed to evaluate the company’s technology and showcase “electric aviation’s potential.”

“We’re following the successful path of hybrid-electric automobiles in transforming ground transportation by taking that model to the sky,” said Ampaire CEO Kevin Noertker. “By upgrading current aircraft with hybrid-electric propulsion we can enter the market quickly and take advantage of existing infrastructure for fixed-wing aviation.”

A converted Cessna 337 Skymaster, Ampaire’s Electric EEL is powered by rear-mounted 310-horsepower Continental IO-550 engine and a 160 kW electric power unit up front. As previously reported by AVweb, the Electric EEL completed a 341-statute-mile test flight last October. Ampaire’s Hawaii flight trials are also supported by climate change solutions company Elemental Excelerator.

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Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. Arthur F: In this way it is ABSOLUTELY the same as building street automobiles. It’s developmental engineering, which requires logical, incremental improvements over time driven by experimentation. You can’t expect a new technology to be perfect immediately. The wright brothers didn’t start with a 787.

    By the way, the Whittle W1 jet engine from 1940 made 850 lbs of thrust, burning 1170 lb of fuel per hour, and was limited to 2 g manoeuvres or else the compressor casing would fail. That wasn’t very useful, and they could achieve the same thing with a Merlin and a prop, with way better reliability, so the whole world scrapped the idea of jet engines altogether and the rest is history. That’s how it happened, right?

  2. In general I make it a point to be against electric vehicles, especially cars, planes, and motorcycles where weight is so important so I view this as a failure.

    With that said I am less opposed to fuel cell vehicles as they can achieve a reasonable energy density and range as needed, especially for aviation.

    Battery electric vehicles WOULD have been destined for failure if not for Big Government forcing them on the public.

    • Electric motorcycles have already become amazing.

      I make it a point to vote with my dollars and be against subsidies and government interference. If someone wants to challenge the status quo using their own money, I say that’s good. I can understand the reaction to the way a bunch of people have been shoving the electric stuff down our throats using the government, but that won’t keep me from buying something that works in the end.

      • I respect what you are saying Eric and you are right about the reaction of people rejecting whatever the government shoves down our throats. If and when EV’s work I’d consider one as a car, but not a motorcycle.

        With that said electric motorcycles are way too heavy, expensive, and terrible ranges and can’t be used as true motorcycles are used. You can commute on one but touring and ADV riding and long day trips to the canyons are all out of the question.

        I’ve ridden over 300,000 miles in the past 38 years, and owned maybe 30 motorcycles in that time. Current stable includes a Ducati and Moto Guzzi and I’ll never see value in a heartless vacuum cleaner powered soundless thing. BUT as long as they coexist peacefully with motorcycles, I have no great hate for seeing electric cycles such as I do for Teslas.

  3. Gasoline remains inexpensive and plentiful we should use it till the last drop.

    The United States is RICH in oil and coal and natural gas, making us an energy superpower. To squander that resource would be foolish.