Pipistrel Panthera Takes Off
Merely one week after Pipistrel first cranked the 210 hp Lycoming engine on the four-seat Panthera, the company announced that it has completed the airplane’s first flight. With support provided by the Slovenian Armed Forces, test pilot Mirko Anžel and his co-pilot Sašo Knez took off from the Airport of Cerklje ob Krki, Slovenia, the country’s only military airport, which also serves civilian traffic. Cerklje ob Krki has a paved runway as opposed to the grass field adjacent to Pipistrel’s facility in Ajdovščina, where the first engine runs, taxi and ground testing were completed.
The first flight lasted nearly one hour and the airplane’s flight characteristics were reported by the pilots as “straight-forward and pilot friendly.” Several additional flights have been conducted since then, also with the landing gear retracted.
The Panthera is Pipistrel’s first Part 23 airplane and, should it achieve certification, the company claims it will be the first four-seat airplane to be produced in Slovenia.
“We knew for a long time that we were capable of developing and producing aircraft larger and more capable than ultralights/LSAs,” said Pipistrel’s CEO Ivo Boscarol. “Panthera is proof that Pipistrel’s team can indeed compete with the most eminent global general aviation producers.”
Watch Panthera’s first flight here.