Ampaire begins Eco Caravan testing

The hybrid-electric Cessna’s first flight is anticipated for later this year

Ampaire has begun ground testing the propulsion system on its first hybrid-electric Cessna 208 Grand Caravan. The milestone is a major step towards the issuing of a supplementary type certificate for the aircraft, which is set to make its first flight later this year.

The Eco Caravan, as Ampaire has named it, is the first hybrid-electric aircraft to enter the US Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) certification process, with the firm anticipating that its propulsion system will be awarded a supplementary type certificate by 2024.

The Eco Caravan is currently undergoing ground testing at Hawthorne Municipal Airport in California
The Eco Caravan is currently undergoing ground testing at Hawthorne Municipal Airport in California Ampaire

Ampaire hopes that recent rises in the price of JET A-1 and fuel savings of up to 70% on short hops will encourage Cessna Caravan and Grand Caravan owners to make the switch to a hybrid-electric powerplant.

Unlike other sustainability focussed efforts, the Eco Caravan is able to operate from airfields which do not offer electric charging infrastructure

Kevin Noertker, the company’s CEO and founder, said: “Powering up a new propulsion system, one that is fully integrated into a flyable aircraft, is a tremendously exciting milestone for Ampaire. We expect the Eco Caravan to be the first in a series of hybrid electric upgrades for a number of aircraft models that will transform the industry by lowering emissions and costs.”

The drivetrain specialist estimates that the nine-seat aircraft could achieve an emissions reduction of up to 90% if using sustainable aviation fuel.