Pipistrel Panthera Progresses

First engine start successfully completed.

Pipistrel Panthera

Pipistrel Panthera

The new sleek Pipistrel Panthera four-seater appears to be progressing quite well. The company announced it has successfully completed the first engine start of the 210 horsepower Lycoming IO-390 that will eventually power the airplane. The test pilots got the engine started on the second attempt and taxied the airplane around the grass runway adjacent to Pipistrel’s factory in Ajdovščina, Slovenia.

“It is very exciting to witness the tests and see the aeroplane come to life for the very first time,” said Pipistrel’s CEO Ivo Boscarol. “This is definitely a very important milestone in the development of Panthera. We look forward to the continuation of tests and the first flight soon!”

Pipistrel announced the Panthera just last year and with this recent announcement, it appears that the airplane is on track for certification in 2015 as originally announced. The Panthera is the first retractable Part 23 single engine airplane under development in decades. It is expected to have a range of about 1,000 nm, cruising at 200 knots on 10 gallons per hour. The panel will be equipped with Garmin's GTN 750/G500 combination and a GTN 635 as a backup. An autopilot will also be available, though Pipistrel has not made a final decision on whether it will come from Garmin, Avidyne or S-tec.

See the video of the first engine run here.