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.