Textron To Acquire Pipistrel

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Textron has entered into an agreement to purchase Slovenia-based aircraft developer and manufacturer Pipistrel. Pipistrel, which has long been on the forefront of the development of electric and hybrid electric aircraft, became the first company to earn a type certificate for a fully electric aircraft with the Velis Electro in June 2020. Following its acquisition of the company, Textron plans to form Textron eAviation, a new business segment that will focus on the development of sustainable aircraft.

“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.”

Donnelly also noted that Textron plans to maintain Pipistrel’s brand, headquarters, research and development, and manufacturing operations in Slovenia and Italy along with making additional investments for the development and production of future products. Pipistrel founder and CEO Ivo Boscarol will remain a minority shareholder and chairman emeritus. According to Textron, Boscarol will be consulting on future product plans and strategies for a two-year period. Subject to regulatory approval, the deal is expected to close during the second quarter of 2022.

20 COMMENTS

  1. The electric stuff is NOT the story here.

    The story here is that pipistrel has been the most innovative and successful up and coming light aircraft manufacturer since Diamond sold to the CCP and it’s closing. The story here is that a foreign aircraft company was bought by a US company. That company has been STRANGLING piston GA for decades.

    I’d love to dream about Boscarol creating a new line of Cessna piston planes to replace the retreads they keep building, but I suspect none of that will happen. I’d be happy to see Cessna start building a two seat composite trainer powered by rotax. More likely, they will use the expertise to build drones, or build more electric prototypes.

    Color me a skeptical old crank. This story is an obituary for a good company. That’s all.

    • That’s just the way I see it, too, Eric. The Skycatcher 162 idea was a good one, the market was there and many were sold. Cessna couldn’t deliver on the sales success, turned buyers off when they ‘sprang’ the made in china idea on ’em and blew it. Same with the TTx. They just don’t understand what the market wants and needs and will pay for. Paul’s video about the Pipistrel electro a few weeks back shows that it’s not ready for prime time and likely won’t be for a long time unless some new magic battery technology comes along. Few dispute the idea of using an electric motor; it’s the energy storage and charging legs of that three-legged stool people object to. A 22-minute endurance on a “certified” electro … give me a break! Textron isn’t going to bring some new technology to Pipistrel to improve that; they can only bring money.

      The ONLY thing one can hope for is that they leave their mits off of Pipistrel and just capitalize on their technology as it evolves. If THAT happens, maybe it’d be OK. But I don’t have high hopes. Textron is spreading their tentacles out TOO broadly across too many lines which means they won’t be good at anything.

      Your idea of a decent sized two place with a Rotax is exactly what we need. I, too, wish they’d leverage all of their efforts into making a lower cost airplane that everyone would want and be able to afford AND justify. Until that happens, they’re doing you know what upwind.

      If Van’s new RV-15 is done right … they will clean the market with it. I’d love to see a two-place built with pull rivets and a 914iS or 915iS … or both. At THIS time, high efficiency internal combustion engines are THE way to go … no matter what the EV fanatics think. In the future … maybe EV’s will work; but not now.

    • Yup. Agree. Cessna killed the Columbia. The Skycatcher did more to undermine the LSA market than just about anything else, and Cessna didn’t just shut down the Skycatcher program, it literally crushed it. And now…

      Pipistrel is a tiny, tiny company compared to Textron. Textron’s piston line has been neglected for decades, because let’s face it, if you’re one of the best execs or managers or engineers, you probably want to work on the bizjet lines. And Pipistrel is tiny compared even to Cessna. You can see where this will go: either Pipistrel comes up with a product that can “move the needle” for Textron, or it will die of neglect as all the talent moves over to the business jet side. Electrics, LSAs, motorgliders and training airplanes aren’t going to move the needle. Military drones might. Quite likely, it will become another small-company acquisition that vanishes without a trace.

      Congrats to Ivo Boscarol, though: he started an airplane company, innovated like crazy (moved that needle, at least!) and made money doing it! Credit where it’s due.

  2. So sad to see the beginning of the end for such a shining light in an otherwise dreary landscape.

    We can look forward to slowly declining innovation, not so slowly increasing cost, a loss of focus. The company has been led by clear focus, vision, and a passion for environmentally responsible aviation. It will now be run by bean counters who don’t fly except as passengers in executive jets, for the short term perceptions of Wall Street 😔

    • In defense of Wall Street, the idea that investors have a short-term focus has been pretty thoroughly debunked by the economists and statisticians who study that sort of thing.

      But if you’re an investor with a long-term focus, you may be wondering, “why is Textron, with all its resources, not nearly as innovative as little Pipistrel? Isn’t that a bad sign for Textron, in the long run?”

      And if you’re a Textron executive, you may be tired of hearing that question. And now you won’t hear it.

  3. Sigh, I wish this was good news. But since it is Textron I will assume it will not be. I see them rebranding the lineup, integrating the electric aircraft into the training fleet and then offering the Pantera at a steep premium. Cirrus has beat them time and time again. But at now 7 digits for a new Cirrus you can bet your last dollar the “new” Pantera will be priced above that level. It is shame also, i was hoping they would get it certified and at the current price point it would have been a real market disruption. By the time the accountants, lawyers and mid level managers work their ineptness into the process the entire line will meet the sky catcher and Columbia fate.

  4. I hope they don’t ruin the good work that Pipistrel has already done, their self launching gliders look amazing, and I would love to have the cash and the license to own one. Textron seem to ruin what company they take over, but I hope this isn’t the case with Pipstrel